GLENDORA- Glendora High School’s boys soccer team had to battle not only visiting Aliso Niguel, the No. 3 team from the South Coast League, during their first round CIF Division 1 playoff game at Azusa Pacific University on Friday, but also the elements, as they pulled out a 1-0 victory in 50 degree temperatures and a consistent rain.
Despite being outscored 9-4 in shots on goal in the second half of the game, the Baseline League champion Tartans were lifted by senior forward Josh Luevanos who scored on the 79th minute of the tight game after he broke ahead of a pack of defenders and shot the game winning goal on an assist by senior midfielder Adam Marston.
Luevanos led the team in shots and goals during the season with 23 goals and 43 shots, but none compared to scoring the game clincher against Aliso Niguel.
“I forgot who gave me the ball, but it came to me and my heart was just pumping, I don’t know…it just went in, it’s a good feeling,” Luevanos said.
Luevanos did not accept individual accolades and credited the entire Glendora team for the hard fought win.
“We knew that was a good side (Aliso) and we just played hard the whole game and we just happened to find a goal late, everyone played good from the defense, to mids to forwards, everyone just pulled their own weight and we pulled out a win,” he said.
Glendora Head Coach Shane Bangle praised his team’s refusal to quit and called it a key ingredient to their success this season which has thus far carried into the playoffs.
“I’ve said this all year and the same is true today, these guys play together as one team, they play as 20 guys and not as one individual and that is what pushed us over the top,” Bangle said.
The visiting Wolverines had plenty of opportunities to score in the first half, with a number of shots just missing on several occasions, but despite out shooting the Tartans, were unable to piece together a score.
“Our team played their hearts out today, they’ve had a never quit attitude the whole year and it showed, we scored on the 79th minute and we fought until the bitter end. It was a great game. I don’t mean to take away from Aliso they’re a very good team,” said Bangle, “We were just the better side today, it feels great.”
Conditioning and preparation for the less than ideal weather conditions also played a factor in Glendora’s play according to Bangle.
“We shechuled this game here once we knew we had CIF and this field’s bigger and plays faster, so we obviously conditioned for that. We were doing some extra fitness and stuff like that to be ready for this game,” he said.
“We practiced here a couple of times, being on the field is huge, we had conditioning and did sprints on the field just to get us ready and it definitely worked out, this win is huge,” added Luevanos.
In other area soccer playoff results, Glendora’s girls soccer team opened their CIF playoff run as the No.3 team in the Baseline League with a 2-1 road win over Southwestern League champion Temecula Great Oak on Thursday.
Glendora’s boys soccer team will most probably go up next against Huntington Beach Edison, champion of the Sunset League and the division’s top-seeded team, in a second round match-up scheduled for Feb. 23.
“It’s not going to get any easier. They are definitely a force to be reckoned with, but I think we can play with them and we can definitely go toe to toe with them,” said Bangle.
The lady Tartans will face either Corona or Fullerton Sunny Hills in the second round on Feb. 22.