By Horst Noppenberger, Special to the Independent
Laguna Beach High’s boys’ soccer season ended in a second round CIF playoff match against La Crescenta Valley High’s Falcons on Feb. 16.
The Falcons, 17-0, ranked third in CIF, 11th in the state and 22nd in the nation, represented the biggest challenge of the season.
Even so, the Breakers came to play and at the half led the stunned Falcons 2-0. Reece Barton scored both first half goals; the first, a glancing header off a Chris Tellez free kick, and the second on a dazzling run up the middle through several defenders and then releasing a well-placed shot beyond the diving Falcon goalkeeper.
Cheers from the Breakers’ supporters was a deafening roar compared to the silence of several hundred Falcon supporters on the other side of the pitch.
As the second half began, senior Falcon forward, Pavie Atanackovic, the team’s leading scorer with 33 goals in 20 games, went to work against the Breaker’s defense, who were playing without one of their key big men, Taylor Davidson. The 6’3”, 175-pound Atanackovic quickly scored two stunning headers, which tied the game 2-2. Two-year starting Breaker defender Brogan O’Bryan played valiantly to help his team hold off the Falcon momentum.
Regulation time expired with a tie, sending the game into a 10-minute, golden-goal overtime period. Atanackovic concluded his hat trick with an astonishing header from 20 yards out into the upper corner of the Breaker net for the victory.