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Temescal Canyon holds on and wins Sunbelt League boys soccer title

02/08/2013, 2:44am PST
By MARK E. STRODER

Lone goal holds up as Temescal Canyon down Perris and win first boys soccer league title since 2000

— Precious seconds remained in regulation play, and Temescal Canyon sophomore midfielder Jordan Zamora didn’t like what he saw in front of him.

Perris midfielder Ricardo Cruz was within a few yards of the goal, and he was about to strike the ball.

“I was very worried,” Zamora admitted.

Zamora reacted quickly, deflecting Cruz’s rebound shot with just five seconds remaining, preserving the visiting Titans’ 1-0 victory over the Panthers on Thursday.

The Titans (15-6-2, 7-2-1), who allowed just one goal in their final four games, won the Sunbelt League championship — their first boys soccer league title since 2000.

Cruz had appeared in position to send the game into extra time. But Zamora used his left foot to save the day.

“I just tried my best to get in the way of the ball, and keep the game on zero,” Zamora said.

Junior goalkeeper Alec Evers credited his quick-thinking teammate.

“Jordan made the best save of the game,” said Evers, who was credited with five saves. “I really owe him one. If that ball had gotten through, it most likely would have found the net.”

Cruz’s last-gasp shot was the best scoring opportunity Perris (7-7-4, 4-4-2) had all day.

“We’ve given some teams some fits because we play really good team defense,” Temescal Canyon third-year coach Mason Dool said. “Our communication was great today.”

The Titans scored their lone goal midway through the first half when Matt Marquardt’s throw-in split a host of Panther defenders and landed on the right foot of teammate Jerred Lopez.

Lopez booted the ball off a Perris defender and into the right corner of the net.

“Our defense had a lapse on that throw-in,” said Perris goalie Victor Medina. “Once it hit our player, I had no chance of getting near the ball.”

The ball glanced off a defender’s shin, but Lopez said his kick was true.

“There was no way the ball wasn’t going to go in,” said Lopez, a junior midfielder. “It was close enough to the goal, and I put enough on it.”

Marquardt made a strong throw from more than 25 yards away but had no expectations.

“I look at the field and try to pick out one of our players, and hopefully the ball finds him,” said Marquardt, a sophomore defender. “I didn’t even see the play. I was just trying to get back on defense in case they had a counterattack.”

The Titans had an answer on defense all day.

“Our defense did a great job of pushing their players towards the sidelines for most of the game,” Marquardt said. “I felt comfortable once we scored that goal.”

Said Dool: “They played with a lot of confidence after we scored. The defense knew it was their game to win, and they put the weight on their shoulders.”

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