Culver High Boys Soccer Team has set the "Table"

By Rob Aigner

Special to the Culver City Observer

Four games into the Ocean League season, the boys' varsity soccer team sits on top of the Ocean league standings with a perfect 4-0 record at press time Tuesday). It is also known as on top of the table in the world of football (soccer).

Along the way, the team has cruised to victories over long-time rivals El Segundo, who has won the Ocean league the last two years, as well as against nearby Santa Monica. The Centaurs won each game by a score of 3-0 and the team is currently first in the league in scoring, having scored a total of 14 goals while allowing only one to squeeze past the defense during the four games.

As the saying goes in many sports, "Defense Wins Championships". Only allowing one goal in four games in combination with an offense that is averaging 3.5 goals per match makes this team a tough assignment for any challenger.

There are a lot of games left to play but the table is set for this varsity squad to win league and make a run in the CIF playoffs. Currently, the squad is ranked No. 3 in the Southern Section for Division 4, No. 29 in the entire Southern California Southern Section and No. 67 overall in the state of California. They control their destiny with six regular season games remaining.

First year head coach, Mike Castillo, credits this success to several factors, saying "First of all we work hard. We trained during the winter break as much as possible, we played several pre-season matches against some tough teams and just experimented to see what our DNA was as a squad. The chemistry is great right now. It's a supportive group that really wants to win. We are blessed that no matter the combination of players we have on the pitch at any given time during a game, we are strong in all phases. We have a stout defense, a mid-field that can control possession and an offense that is hungry for goals. We are in a good place right now."

In fact, according to statistics tracked by a system the soccer program uses called Hudl, the boys' team has created an average possession advantage of 60/40 thus far.

The team has several outstanding players that are helping gain that advantage on the field including senior mid fielder Curtis Collazos, who has already committed to play at Cal State San Marcos next year and junior Hayden Brown who leads all scorers with 15 goals this season. The defense is anchored by junior Nick Stewart and sophomore Kenny Lee making it very difficult for other teams to get on the score sheet.

Other key contributors include senior defender Robbie Ridenour, junior mid-fielder Kevin Arenas, senior striker Jake Schultz, sophomore winger Gabriel Mejia, Senior mid-fielder Luka Bryant, sophomore mid-fielder Mattheos Agapitos, sophomore winger Matthew Solis and junior mid-fielder Jake Aigner.

The team currently has 10 seniors on the squad which means 12 players will be returning next year giving the program a lot of talent to build on.

Their next home game is on January 29 at 6pm when Centaurs battle a feisty Lawndale team. During half time, four local AYSO teams will play a short 10-minute scrimmage to create more community awareness and involvement in the high school's winning traditions on the soccer field. This is a great opportunity to support the team, watch some high level soccer and have a meal at the well-stocked snack bar.

"This is an exciting team to watch as our ability to possess and win the ball leads to some great attacking and counter attacking soccer" says assistant head coach Edward Dono.

This game will be a great opportunity to fill your plate with some great soccer and watch an exciting AYSO halftime game.


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