Unbeaten Aliso Niguel imposed its will in the second half and eliminated Channel League champion San Marcos with a 2-0 victory on Tuesday night at Warkentin Stadium.
The visiting Wolverines went undefeated on their way to a CIF-SS Division 2 championship last season and shook off a spirited first half by San Marcos to stay on track to accomplish the same feat in Division 1 this season.
“There’s a reason why we’re undefeated two years in a row, and that’s what we’re going for right now,” said Aliso Niguel coach Randy Dodge. “We’re in the quarterfinals and we’re excited about it.”
San Marcos was left wondering what could have been after several golden goal-scoring opportunities came up empty in the first half. The Royals controlled possession, but could not solve Aliso Niguel’s 6’5″ goalkeeper Steele Arlasky and came away with nothing to show for it.
“Our inability to convert in those moments was maybe the difference in the game,” said San Marcos coach Paul McLean. “They are very good at kicking the ball far and throwing the ball far, so it was like defending 40 set pieces.”
Aliso Niguel broke the scoreless tie in the 67th minute when Mikhail Feoktistov survived a scrum of bodies in the box, rebounded the ball after multiple deflections and a goal line clearance by San Marcos defender Justin Hess, and converted into an empty net.
“I had just subbed him in literally 15 seconds before that because the guy up top was tired,” Dodge said. “He’s a man as a senior, and he made something happen.”
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The goal seemed to take some wind out of the San Marcos sails as the Royals chased the game but failed to put together solid scoring chances down the stretch.
With time running out in the 78th minute, San Marcos earned a deep throw in, but it was cut out by the Aliso Niguel defense, and Sawyer Sachen exploded downfield on a one-man counter attack. After blowing past the final San Marcos defender, Sachen placed a right-footed shot into the back of the net, increasing the Aliso Niguel lead to 2-0.
With the victory, the Wolverines advance to the CIF-SS Division 1 quarterfinals, where they will take on Huntington Beach, which defeated San Clemente via penalty kicks.
Boys’ Basketball Scores
CIF-SS Division 2A
Thousand Oaks, 71; San Marcos, 55
CIF-SS Division 3A
Bishop Diego, 58; John Burroughs, 50
CIF-SS Division 4A
Western (Anaheim), 48; Cate, 47 (OT)
Dos Pueblos, 78; Faith Baptist, 62