Golden Valley boys’ soccer qualifies for postseason

Golden Valley boys’ soccer qualifies for postseason

Grizzlies edge West Ranch 2-0 in final game of regular season

For the second straight season, Golden Valley boys’ football is heading to the playoffs, and just like last season, the Grizzlies did so by beating West Ranch, winning 2-0 at home on Tuesday to finish fourth in the league. Foothill League.

The Grizzlies (10-6-5, 5-4-3) scored a goal in each half to edge out the Wildcats (3-8-3, 2-6-3) on the senior day. Senior Christian Hernandez opened the scoring with just over 13 minutes to go in the first half, finishing off a low cross from second Will Flint. Senior Jimmy Lozono made it 2-0 in the second half, again with 13 minutes left, latching onto junior Alex Risdon’s through ball to cap the Grizzlies’ fourth straight victory.

“It’s amazing,” said Golden Valley senior Arya Soleimani. “GV has always had the reputation of being a bad school. Last year we reached the playoffs for the first time in 13 years. We now have two years in a row. I mean, we’re on a roll. We will continue to improve from here.

Lozono had set his sights on scoring 10 this season, and he went one better on Tuesday with his 11th goal of the campaign.

“I’m very happy with this goal,” Lozono said. “It was a hard-fought goal. I ran around the pitch the whole game, so I was really happy, especially on my senior night, to have that.

West Ranch’s Christian Hanson (14) kicks the ball away from Golden Valley defenders Jose Valerio (5) and Keven Cabrera (9) in Golden Valley on Tuesday 013123. Dan Watson/The Signal

It was a difficult game for both teams, with high winds preventing the balls in the air from reaching their targets. That’s nothing new for the Grizzlies, who know wind is always a factor on their home turf, though head coach Stephen Evison had to admit Tuesday’s weather — it was also a cold day — were something different.

“It was like that [Monday], but it’s a battle,” Evison said. “And playing six league games at home here is quite beneficial. When other teams come here, they don’t know how to touch the ball as well as us.

The winds picked up as the game progressed which didn’t help the Grizzlies in the second half as they switched sides and had to play into the wind. Evison knew that could be a problem, so he changed tactics to play more defensively in a 5-3-2 formation, a change from the 4-3-3 the Grizzlies normally played.

The switch worked, as the Wildcats found little space to attack the Grizzlies net. There were very few times West Ranch was able to get behind the Golden Valley defense, with Soleimani and the rest of the Grizzlies defensemen doing their part to keep the clean sheet.

“Just the communication,” Soleimani said. “Our defense talks constantly, we talk to the drop midfielders. We know chemistry, we know each other. He knows he’s supposed to mark him, I know I’m supposed to mark my man. We cover ourselves constantly. If I get beat up, there’s someone right behind me every time.

West Ranch’s AJ Vietello (15) defends as Golden Valley’s Will Flint (17) passes the ball near the goal in Golden Valley on Tuesday 013123. Dan Watson/The Signal

“We’ve only been playing this formation for a week, and it’s working. We’re so good in a team that we clicked so well, that whatever formation we play, we’re just plain good.

The Wildcats are mired in sort of a dip in form at the end of their season. The loss marks their third in a row after winning their previous two matches.

West Ranch head coach Mike Kane isn’t focusing on that aspect of the Wildcats’ season, though. He’s more impressed with how hard his side have fought in every game despite the results not going their way.

“Nothing has made me happier than seniors and their hard work,” Kane said. “I can’t ask for anything more from them.”

West Ranch will wrap up its season Thursday when the Wildcats host Castaic at 3:15 p.m.

“I asked the boys before this game, ‘Let’s just show improvement,'” Kane said. “That’s all I would like to see for the last game of the year.”

West Ranch’s Andrew Montes (7) heads the ball away from Golden Valley defenders in Golden Valley on Tuesday 013123. Dan Watson/The Signal

The Grizzlies are done with the regular season, which means they can now focus on the playoffs. Evison doesn’t know when, where or who his team will play, only that this year the Grizzlies are looking to make some noise in Division 5 after losing in the first round last season.

“Last year I only had two senior starters,” Evison said. “Two of my seniors got red cards against West Ranch, so that’s what it is, but a lot of these boys have experience, and they’re just hungrier now that they know what they’re up to.” should.”

Lozono agreed with his coach. He believes that with the Grizzlies’ recent form, to go along with senior management – there are 15 seniors on the roster – there’s no limit to what they can do.

“I’m confident this year we’re going to be able to have a better race because we all have the experience and we’ve all been together for a while,” Lozono said.

The CIF South Section is set to release the football playoff draws for boys and girls on Saturday at 9am.

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