The Whittier Christian boys varsity soccer team hosted Heritage Christian high school on Friday, January 27, in their first back to back home tilt of the regular season. The Herald boys were coming off a tough 1-0 loss against Maranatha high school the day before and were eager to get back and write off some wrongs that went on the previous day. A match that was expected to start at 3:15pm saw a slight delay as a result of the visitors experiencing traffic delays. This prompted the referees to set the kick off time 30 minutes later.
Both teams started off a little tense as they were trying to get the feel and rhythm of the game. However, with a strong fan base supporting them, the Herald soccer boys started finding ways to move the ball around the field and getting connections through a trident middle-field group of senior captain Matthew White, junior captain Aiden Suk and sophomore captain Joseph Salahi-Chung.
The first real chance for the Herald boys came from a long pass from senior captain Matthew White who found sophomore Caleb Fulbright (who together with sophomore Isaac Williams were a constant threat to the visitors on the flanks) on the left flank of the pitch. Dribbling through two defenders and finding himself inside the left side of the18 yard box, his final attempt for a cross was disrupted by the visitors defender for the games first corner kick. That move seemed to have buoyed the home team as confidence seemed to start sipping in and chances started being created. By half time, both teams had exchanged a few good attempts on goal but the score was still tied 0-0.
Going into the second half, Herald sophomore goalkeeper Elijah Camarena had only allowed two goals, in up to now 4 league games, and was having a great game in this one as well. Having a great defensive line in-front of him has helped a lot especially since the combination of freshman Tommy Son, junior Matthew Duran, sophomore Kai Barbosa and freshman James Lee started playing together. A true testament to Elijah’s confidence and great goalkeeping antics was showcased in today’s game when he was faced with a 1v1 situation 10 minutes in to the second half and produced the save of the day by denying the visitors a chance to go on top.
Half way into the second half, with the scores still tied at 0-0, sophomore captain Joseph Salahi-Chung sent in a good corner kick which was not well dealt with by the visitors and from the ensuing scramble, the ball landed perfectly at the feet of junior defender Matthew Duran who with his first shot of the game found the back of the net. That was Matthew Duran’s first ever goal in a Herald uniform and it proved to be decisive as it was the game winner. 10 minutes later, the visitors committed a foul in their own penalty box against a Herald player and sophomore Caleb Fulbright took responsibility of the ensuing penalty kick and put the ball away to make the score 2-0 in favor of Whittier Christian high school.
Overall, it was great team effort from everyone that saw the boys playing to their potential and actually enjoying it in good sportsmanship form. Special shout out to former Herald Andy Kang who came to support the team.
Written by Head Coach Franky Atonya.