BY TED APODACA: After a scoreless first half, the Bolsa Grande High boys soccer team scored three second-half goals to top Pacifica in the Marina Tournament championship game on Friday at Marina High.
Gregory Mateo scored on a header just over nine minutes into the second half and it proved to be the game-winner. Mateo would add another goal later in the half after Alexis Guzman had added to the lead with a goal about 13 minutes after Mateo’s first.
Pacifica had the first good opportunity in the second half on an attack up the sideline. The crossing pass was put on goal with a header by Jonathan Marquez, but it sailed wide of the goal.
Pacifica also had a chance to tie the game shortly after the first goal. Anthony Munoz got inside the goal box and was able to fire a turnaround shot on goal, but the goal keeper was able to make the save.
Pacifica had other opportunities, though as they were forced to take more chances, the Matadors were able to counter attack. Pacifica had rallied in the final minutes to tie their semifinal game against Long Beach Poly and then beat the Jackrabbits in a penalty-kick tie-breaker. Bolsa Grande was able to match Pacifica’s fight until the final whistle.
“That’s how it’s been this whole tournament,” coach Ryan Sullivan said of the Matadors’ effort.
The championship game was the sixth game in three days for both teams. Pacifica had won its pool to advance to bracket play, while Bolsa Grande earned a wild card after finishing second in pool play.
Pacifica had beaten Redondo in the quarterfinals before topping Long Beach Poly in the semifinals. Poly had led 1-0 until the final five minutes of the game. Pacifica sent a long pass into Poly territory. The ball hit a defender, where Marquez was able to control it between two Poly players.
Marquez moved around one defender and fired a shot from about 20 yards that beat the goalie on the right to tie the game. In the shootout, one Poly miss proved to be the difference as Marquez, Shaun Rippe, Zach Chung, Danny Ramirez and Michael Hernandez all hit their shots to seal the win.
Marquez had five goals in the tournament and Rippe had three to pace the Pacifica offense.
“This was an incredible run by our team and most importantly we are playing super well heading to into league which is going to give us a ton of confidence,” Pacifica Head Coach Coach Fipps said.
Pacifica is looking to improve upon a fifth place finish in the Empire League from last year. Pacifica had gone unbeaten, with just one tie, to get into the finals.
Bolsa Grande is looking to improve upon a fourth place finish in the Garden Grove league from last year. The Matadors defeated La Mirada, 1-0, in the quarterfinals and Dana Hills, 2-1, in the semifinals.
Matador Head Coach Enrique Gonzalez said this year’s team is capable of making big improvements and getting into the playoffs. He said winning the tournament was a big first step.
“I’m proud of them, so proud of these kids,” Gonzalez said.