Good fortune this year put Culver City High School into the playoffs. A little more experience next year may get the Centaur varsity boys soccer team beyond the wildcard round of the CIF playoffs.
“We were a very young team,” head coach David Sanchez said. “We started just four seniors. It is an excellent sign for the future. We had our opportunities including some breakaways in several games. I’m very pleased with our effort this season.”
On a windy day at Glendale High in the recent wildcard round of the CIF-Southern Section Division IV playoffs, the Centaurs lost in overtime on penalty kicks against the Dynamiters.
Culver City took advantage of playing with the wind and took a 2-0 halftime lead, but in the second half the wind was on Glendale’s side as it rallied for two goals to tie the game and send it into the two 10-minute overtime periods.
There was no scoring in the overtime periods, forcing a round of penalty kicks.
After the two teams were knotted on penalty kicks in the first round of five each, the Dynamiters out-kicked the Centaurs, 5-4, in the next round to win the match.
Things looked good for Culver City in the early going. It was a combination of Chris Echeverria and Julien Prestridge who led the Centaurs to an early two-goal lead. Prestridge scored both goals on assists from Echeverria.
Things went the other direction for Culver City in the second half, however, playing into the wind. Glendale scored on a penalty kick and added another goal late in regulation to tie the contest.
In the penalty kicks round, Prestridge got things started with a lead after goalkeeper Edgar Castillo made a save on the Dynamiters’ first attempt.
Fernando Villasenor and Jerry Grande also scored, but Glendale came back with three penalty kicks to knot the score at three, sending it into a sudden death round.
Then, Ernie Renoso put a ball in, but Culver City failed on the next two tries. Glendale put in two to pull off the victory.
The Centaurs pulled off third place in the Ocean League to earn a playoff spot after Inglewood forfeited several matches because of the use of an ineligible player.
Culver City’s boys soccer team played hard but lost at home to a highly regarded Santa Monica team, 2-0, and at Inglewood, 2-1, in Ocean League matches before the playoffs.
Against Inglewood, the Centaurs quickly found themselves down, 2-0, through just the first six minutes of play. Culver City scored early in the second half, courtesy of Prestridge.
The Centaurs played hard but made some small mistakes that cost them, according to Sanchez.
Two days earlier, Culver City was pitted against a Santa Monica team ranked No. 2 in the CIF-Southern Section Division IV, and did the best it could to keep up with the Vikings.
The Centaurs were down only 1-0 until about the 70th minute, when unbeaten Santa Monica scored on a goal by Trevor Kobacs on an assist from Alex Confortes.
The Vikings scored their first goal when Nick Herrera put the ball past goalkeeper Castillo after an assist from Suk Lee. Castillo recorded eight saves in the match.