The Eagle Can't Land
Culver City Ends with a Tie While Heading to Championship
January 30, 2020
By Rob Aigner
Special to the Observer
Soccer is one of the rare sports to allow games to end in a tie and that's exactly what the No. 7 ranked in CIF Division 4 Culver City High School Boys Varsity team earned last Friday against rival Santa Monica.
That result gives the Centaurs, who are 9-3-2 overall and 5-0-1 in the Ocean league, a slim half game lead over the Eagles of El Segunda setting up an epic battle on January 31st at 3pm in an away match for Culver City. El Segundo is the defending league champions and it looks like they will battle Culver City for the title this year as well.
"That game is essentially a league championship match for us" said varsity head coach Mike Castillo last week. "We had complete control of our destiny but not finishing the game out against Santa Monica means we need to win next week against El Segundo to regain control of the league title race. This will be a great test for the boys and I'm excited to see them step up to the challenge."
The hard fought battle ended against the Vikings in a 2-2 draw after the traveling Centaurs' relinquished a 2-0 lead in the first half. In soccer circles a 2-0 lead is often considered the most dangerous score to maintain because if the team trailing in the score generates a goal and cuts the lead in half there is often a huge momentum swing. That is exactly what happened for the Vikings at home last Friday.
Culver scored early in the first half on a transition goal from Gabriel Meija and a nifty header from Curtis Collazos on a corner kick (Collazos was just named on the top 100 high school players in Southern California by http://www.scorebooklive.com). The Vikings then scored easily on a defensive error by the Centaurs and the intensity of the entire match became palpable.
While Culver City created many chances to score, they never capitalized giving home side Santa Monica more energy which they used to create their second goal. Many thought that score shouldn't have counted due to offsides, but the officials didn't see that way and the goal counted. Regulation ended in a 2-2 draw which was followed by two grueling 10-minute overtime periods which also ended scoreless and making the match an official tie.
When the Centaurs travel to El Segunda on the January 31st it will take all their effort to keep the Eagles from landing on their own home field. If Culver City can regain their form and get an extra boost from fans ready to travel, it will be a feather in their cap....An Eagle Feather!
The Culver City girls' varsity soccer team lost a 3-2 nail biter against Santa Monic last Friday. In a must win game Culver City was up 2-1 with 10 minutes to play when Santa Monica equalized the game with a 30 yard screamer of a shot. Culver City was left to think about their missed opportunities when Santa Monica scored a winning goal eight minutes onto the extra time.
"Soccer can be a brutal game," said head coach Pete Bartlett. "When you don't close out a game where you had the lead in can be costly. Our goal now is to make the playoffs and make a deep run in the playoffs."
The Centaurs are currently 11-5-1 overall and in third place in the Ocean league. They need to focus on securing send place before heading into the Division 2 CIF playoffs. They play a critical match against El Segundo on Friday, January 31.