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Torrey Pines soccer squad thinking big

12/26/2013, 9:53pm PST
By Glae Thien, Special to the U-T

Falcons off to a fast start, playing like a contender in section's new Open Division.

Torrey Pines junior Jagger Havlik (center) is congratulated by senior Tyler Valdes (7) after Havlik scored in the first half against Chula Vista.

As a first-year starter for the Torrey Pines High boys soccer team, senior Tyler Valdes is looking to put his best foot forward.

Valdes definitely got the Falcons started the right way in their opening game in the Showcase Coast Division of the 19th annual Southern California Classic tournament.

After stealing the ball in the attacking zone, Valdes scored in the 13th minute for the first of three unanswered goals by host Torrey Pines en route to a 3-1 victory over Chula Vista on Thursday night.

“I try not to make any mistakes, just keep my head straight and play good soccer,” said Valdes, a second-year varsity member who has three goals this season. “Then I want to finish when I get the opportunities.”

The Falcons (5-1-3) have just three returning starters, but they’re shaping up as a contender in the new San Diego Section Open Division after reaching the Division I semifinals last season. They claimed the Grossmont tournament title on Monday.

“We’ve put in a lot of hard work,” Valdes said. “It was tough to lose last year in the semis to (eventual champion) San Pasqual, but we gained from the experience. Now we want to go for the championship.”

The Falcons ousted second-seeded Chula Vista with a penalty-kick victory in last season’s quarterfinals. So they continued as a nemesis to the Spartans (2-3) in this rematch.

Junior Jagger Havlik scored in the 26th minute to stake Torrey Pines to a 2-0 halftime lead. Amid a flurry in front of the goal, he converted on a play that began with a throw-in by Connor Hargreaves.

“I go out, run and work hard,” said Havlik, also a first-year starter. “You can do that because we have a lot of good substitutes. We started strongly here, and that set the tone.”

Austin Nicholson added the final Falcons goal before Chula Vista’s Isai Aguila converted at 13 minutes into the second half.

Team captains Uri Bialostozky and Thomas Mackey anchored the Torrey Pines defense.

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