Off and running
For each San Juan player who couldn’t make the trip to Forest Lake Christian, the Falcons scored a goal.
Five of the Spartans starters, according to FLC coach Thad Kopec, were academically ineligible to play in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI playoffs Tuesday at Forest Lake Christian.
FLC cruised to a 5-0 win.
The result of the depleted roster was a defensive-minded San Juan team, which played the first half with seven defenders and one forward, sophomore Justin Reyes.
“I know it would have been harder,” Kopec said of playing all of the Spartans starters, who helped San Juan (9-10-2 overall, 8-4 Golden Empire League) win its three final regular-season games to earn the third seed from the GEL.
The Falcons (19-3-2 overall, 11-0-1 Central Valley Christian League) finished atop the CVCL for the No. 1 seed.
Senior Andreas Zeischegg and junior Mitch Seman combined for all five goals for Forest Lake Christian. Zeischegg finished with his third hat trick of the season, and Seman pitched in with his second two-goal game of the year.
Zeischegg scored the only goal of the first half in the 35th minute, assisted by Eric Green.
A pair of Seman’s first-half attempts barely missed. Early in the game, his bullet of a shot bounced off the top of the goal. Later in the half, he kicked the ball off the right goal post.
Two minutes After Zeischeggis second goal of the game, which was assisted by Seman three minutes into the second half, Seman finally connected from about 25 feet in front of the goal. Carter Kaminski had the assist.
“It was awesome,” Seman said. “It was a great feeling to finish one off.”
In the 54th minute, Zeischegg drew San Juan senior keeper Erik Eckern out of position on a breakaway and tapped it around him for his third goal.
Five minutes later, Seman completed the scoring with a left-footed goal around Reyes. Kopec said he has been making Seman, who favors his right side, work on attacking with his left foot.
“That was Mitch’s best game of the season,” Kopec said.
Seman was one of six Falcons voted to the All-CVCL first team. Zeischegg was named league MVP, and was joined on the first team by Kaminski, Luke Ziegenmeyer, Jon Lehmer and Taylor Bigelow.
According to Kopec, FLC has never before had six players on the league’s first team.
While Kopec said he wasn’t completely satisfied with his team’s performance in the first half Tuesday, from beginning to end the Falcons had a clear advantage.
“We really controlled the focus the whole game,” Kopec said. “In the second half (San Juan) tried to open it up, but our defenders shut them down.”
Slow starts have been bothering Forest Lake Christian for a month, Kopec said.
On Tuesday, he spent much of the first half staying on his players to be aggressive.
“We’ve been talking about it all year,” Seman said of the need to play consistently.
“We have to. We’ll definitely be coming out strong on Thursday.”
The Falcons host the section semifinal at 3 p.m. Thursday against the winner of Tuesday’s Marysville-Le Grand match. Kopec said if he had his choice the Falcons would host Marysville, as the two teams have never met at the varsity level.
In 2002, Forest Lake Christian beat Le Grand 2-1 for the section crown.
“It doesnit really matter,” Kopec added. “We have a home game and a great crowd.”
To contact sports writer Jeff Miller, call 477-4247 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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