Falcons spread wings, boot Rams
Hosting its first playoff game since 2007, the Forest Lake Christian boys soccer team did not disappoint the home fans Thursday, topping the Sierra Ridge Academy Rams, 5-0, in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-VII playoffs
The Falcons (15-5-1) scored five goals, coming from four different players, and played suffocating defense against Sierra Ridge to cruise into the second round.
“It was awesome getting all the guys involved,” FLC senior captain Hunter Semen said. “Everyone played really well. It was really encouraging to get the win.”
The Falcons put the pressure on early with several near misses in the first 10 minutes. FLC would net its first goal at the 12-minute mark on a pretty solo effort by junior Scott Gauthier. The fleet-footed forward danced around two separate defenders before delicately dribbling through a double team and then, at an almost impossible angle, sneaked the ball past Sierra Ridge’s diving goalie.
“Isn’t that fun?” FLC second-year head coach Steve Koch said. “I just love watching him play. I encourage him to be creative because I know that’s where he is free. He is just amazing. He is one of the keys to our success. Just spectacular.”
The Falcons would control the ball for much of the game as their offense took shot after shot on goal, and their defense thwarted any inkling of an attack from the Rams.
Senior Daniel Cuneo led the FLC defense, which was down two regular starters for the game. Cuneo led the team with 17 steals and said that the defensive replacements, Garret Jones and Luke Jordan, played incredibly.
“Each and every day confidence grows and these guys are my brothers. I trust them with just about everything,” Cuneo said.
Jordan and Jones each tallied seven steals as they, along with Cuneo and Tyler Young, kept the Falcons’ goalie bored.
When Sierra Ridge did navigate its way through the defense and got a shot off, Kyle Soria was there to nab it. Soria, the Falcons’ talented goaltender, saved all four shots fired at him.
Forest Lake Christian netted their second goal in the 38th minute when senior Logan Ray beat his defender, setting up a one-on-one with the goalie. Ray stutter stepped before chipping the ball over the charging goalie and into the net. It was Ray’s team-leading 20th goal.
At the halfway mark in the game, FLC had outshot Sierra Ridge 12-2.
It was more of the same in the second half as the Falcons offense persisted. In the 65th minute, Ray found himself once again dribbling at the goalie in a one-on-one situation, but this time he slowed his approach, baited the goalie out, then slipped a pass over to teammate Roman Makovey, who punched in the score.
“I think we struggle when we play a little selfish, when we try to take it ourself, but when we are spreading it around and we are all playing unselfishly and looking for passes, that’s when our offense excels,” Semen said.
FLC would put the game away in the 72nd minute when Semen found Kevin Hegarty, who played through a knee injury, for the fourth Falcons’ goal. Hegarty would net his second goal six minutes later to round out the scoring.
“Possession is it,” Koch said. “We did very good today. When we are patient bringing the ball up, we are good.”
The Falcons will now prepare for the second round, where they will face the winner of the Western Sierra vs. Sac Country Day contest.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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