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Vikings edge Barons

High School Roundup

In a possible preview of future league games, Marina beats Fountain Valley, 1-0, to win its own tournament.

January 04, 2012|By Mike Sciacca
  • Marina's Alex Witkowski goes up for a header against Fountain Valley's Wade Sias during the championship game of the Marina Holiday Classic on Dec. 29.
Marina's Alex Witkowski goes up for a header against… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

A week before the beginning of the Sunset League boys' soccer season, Fountain Valley and Marina gave a preview of things to come in the upcoming league race.

The Barons and Vikings clashed at Marina High in the championship of the Marina Holiday Classic on Dec. 29. The difference in the first of three regular-season meetings between the league rivals was established early, when senior midfielder Steven Mendoza punched in the game's only goal in a 1-0 victory for the Vikings.

It marked the first time that Marina had won its own tournament in the 12 years that Jeff Schofield has coached the Vikings.

"I thought it was an exciting game, very evenly match game," Schofield said. "(Fountain Valley Coach) Jason (Smith) and I talked before the game and we both said that this could be a preview of what to expect in league play. The teams in our league are evenly matched and have similar records. It should be a dog fight.

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Smith said Marina's intensity at the outset of the game set the tone early.

"They came out and played stronger than we did," he said. "They were able to get that one (goal) off a free kick and made it stand. Goals aren't going to come easily in this league, and today proved just that."

Both teams had shots on goal that missed the mark in each half. Marina senior goalie David Elias, last year the Defensive Player of the Year in the Sunset League, registered two saves. The Vikings, who improved to 9-1-4 with the win, posted their 10th shutout of the season. The Vikings gave up just one goal in the tournament.

"David's been a leader for us out there and he sets the tone for our team," Schofield said. "Our defense really has been our strength this year and it came up big again today.

Mendoza scored off a free kick from senior Josue Medina 13 minutes into the game. It was his only goal of the tournament and second of the season.

"I saw the ball cross from the opposite side and just went after it," Mendoza said. "It felt great when I hit it and it felt really great to see it go in."

Twenty-one teams vied for the tournament title, including two other Sunset League teams, Huntington Beach and Newport Harbor. Dominguez took third place and Newport Harbor finished fourth.

On Friday, Marina hosts Los Alamitos at 3 p.m. and Fountain Valley travels for a 4:45 p.m. game at Huntington Beach. The other Sunset game Friday has Edison hosting Newport Harbor at 4:45 p.m.

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