After 80 minutes, Friday night’s battle for temporary Avocado West League boys’ soccer supremacy ended up right where it started as visiting La Costa Canyon used a second half goal to earn a 1-1 draw with Torrey Pines. The verdict means the Mavericks remain two points behind the first place Falcons, four games into the 10-game schedule. Torrey Pines, the CIF’s top-rated side, now sports a 9-2-4 overall ledger and is 3-0-1 in Avocado West play while No. 6 LCC stands at 7-3-6 and 2-0-2.
Torrey came out of the gate quickly, getting a high quality goal in the game’s third minute when senior Ish Uno served a low corner kick right in front of the goal where another senior, Ali Demiralp, got his head on it and directed it home from short range.
“That’s the third time I’ve scored on a corner from Ish this season,” said Demiralp. “He crosses it so well—I couldn’t ask for a better teammate in that situation.” Aside from that goal-scoring sequence, the first half did not play out to the liking of either coach. The hectic, bruising character of the opening 40 minutes allowed neither team to really display its top form.
“We weren’t playing our style, they weren’t playing their style,” said LCC Coach Trent Gurley, who took the reins in the absence of Head Coach Craig Dean. “An early goal like that makes you want to pull your hair out, especially against Torrey Pines, it’s happened so many times over the years.
“The second half was a lot better. We settled things down, created plenty of chances and could have gone on and won it.” Torrey Pines Head Coach Andy Hargreaves felt his team got away from what it does best.
“I didn’t think we played well,” he said. “It was a physical battle, not great soccer but two teams not wanting to lose. I think they’re probably better than they showed tonight and we definitely are—we played to their strengths, not ours.”
In terms of entertainment value, the fans got their money’s worth as they always do in this series. The Mavericks evened up the score midway through the second half with standout senior defender Jake Aaknes converting directly on a free kick from 25 yds. out. Torrey keeper Nick Bello got his hands on the drive but was unable to catch enough to re-direct it out of the goal.
“Jake didn’t have the greatest angle but you’ve got to put it on frame if you want to score,” said Gurley. “The goalkeeper got a piece of it so we might have been a bit lucky but we’ll take it any way we can get it.”
When league play resumes next Wednesday Torrey Pines will host defending CIF Open Division champion San Marcos while La Costa Canyon welcomes Carlsbad. The two sides meet again, February 9, the last day of the regular season.
Demiralp, for one, was disappointed in the tie and looking forward to the rematch. “We just made some silly mistakes tonight and couldn’t possess the ball the way we wanted to,” he said. “They kind of outplayed us. It was a decent result but we’ll have a chance to play them at their place and look for a different outcome.”