SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. -- Teams came from near and far, but after the final touch of the ball Thursday, it was clear California soccer dominates.
Host San Clemente (Calif.), Servite (Calif.), Torrey Pines (Calif.) and Watsonville (Calif.) won opening round matches at the Lotto Sport Western Showcase on Thursday, leaving four California teams vying for the championship.
The showcase match of the day was Torrey Pines' 2-1 victory over Brophy Prep in a meeting of SIMA FAB 50 Top 5 teams.
Brophy entered the contest at No. 2, while Torrey Pines was close behind at No. 4.
But 10 minutes into the match, Torrey Pines had a 2-0 lead and looked like this game could get ugly. Instead, Brophy scored in the second half and put pressure on Torrey Pines over the last 15 minutes before the final whistle.
"We have been playing well enough to win some game," Torrey Pines coach Andy Hargreaves said. "You'd like to get a great result and a great performance. Today we got a great result. We need to get it a notch higher to get the great performance."
Ben Antoniades staked Torrey Pines to a 1-0 lead just minutes into the match. Not long after, Tye Barton hit a shot that deflected off the goalkeeper and the backspin help the ball cross the goal line for a 2-0 advantage.
Francesco Montanile scored a second-half goal for Brophy to make the game interested, but Torrey Pines' defenders were able to hang on for the result.
"We came out slow -- almost like we were asleep the first 15 minutes," Brophy coach Paul Allen said. "We batted to get back in the game. This will be a learning lesson, and that's why I like coming to tournaments like this."
Servite (Calif.) 1, San Luis Obispo (Calif.) 0: Portland commit David Mitzner delivered two solid save in the shootout as Servite edged San Luis Obispo following a scoreless match. The contest is considered a tie as there was no overtime and psuh of PKs was needed for one team to advance in the tournament. Servite had the better of the play, but could not breakthrough San Luis Obispo's defense. The stars of the match were both team's keepers - Mitzner for his shootout performance and SLO's Lucas Berryman, who ended with double-digit saves.
San Clemente (Calif.) 4, Kapolei (Hawaii) 0: Nelson Tabarez scored twice and Nolan Grush and Asa Gibson added goals as San Clemente simply ran away from Kapolei. The visitors from Hawaii had no answers for the Tritons' speed, size and skill. Kapolei scored six or more goals in each of the team's first three matches this season, but on this night the team did not produce a single shot on goal.
Watsonville (Calif.) 2, Corona del Sol (Ariz.) 1: In a tail of two halves, Watsonville quite literally hung on for a victory. The NorCal power scored twice early, getting goals from Jael Leal and Alexis Valenzuela. Corona del Sol dominated play in the second half and was reawarded when Reyes Carbajal ran onto a perfectly played ball by Moises Escobedo and delivered a header goal. In the closing minutes Jacob Flores clanged a rocket of a shot off the crossbar, which could have tied the match.
Friday's matches start at 2 p.m. PST and all four contests will be live-streamed on this link. Friday's schedule is San Luis Obispoe vs. Brophy Prep, 2 p.m.; San Clemente vs. Watsonville, 4 p.m.; Servite vs. Torrey Pines, 5:45 p.m.; Kapolei vs. Corona del Sol, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday's Standout Performers
M Denzel Barrientos, Servite (Calif.), Jr.: Servite has a lot of weapons and Barrientos was a standout in midfield during Thursday's action.
GK Nick Bello, Torrey Pines (Calif.): Bello came up with a couple of big stops to keep Torrey Pines in the lead in a clash with Brophy Prep.
GK Lucas Berryman, San Luis Obispo (Calif.), Jr.: Berryman was called on for one or two big saves to highlight a solid performance in net. He was often asked to snag crosses on corners and kept SLO in the match.
M Reyes Carbajal, Corona del Sol (Ariz.), Jr.: Scored Corona del Sol's lone goal on a lunging header that capped a great far post run.
M Seb Flores, Corona del Sol (Ariz.), Sr.: Flores demonatrated a high work rate during the match.
D Ethan Grush, San Clemente (Calif.), Sr.: Grush drew the defensive assignment on Kapolei's leading scorer and college-committed Thomas Mascaro-Keahi. Grush held him to no shots on goal, which was quite a task consdiering Mascaro-Keahi had scored 13 goals in Kapolei's first three matches.
F Nolan Grush, San Clemente (Calif.), So.: Grush netted the third goal thanks to his raw speed and ability to finish. As a sophomore, he shows a lot of promise.
M Jake Kosakoff, Torrey Pines (Calif.): Kosakoff pretty much ran the game for the first half as Torrey Pines jumped out to a 2-0 lead en route to a victory.
F Jael Leal, Watsonville ca-m] (Calif.), Sr.: Leal scored the first goal of the tourney and it jumpstarted Watsonville's first round victory. He is a speedy forward who was able to run past defenders.
D/M Connor Leber, Brophy Prep (Ariz.), Sr.: The Cal Poly commit was Brophy's most influential players Thursday. The team was stuck in a 2-0 deficit, but when Leber was pushed into the attack things started to happen for the Arizona defensing state champs.
F Thomas Mascaro-Keahi, Kapolei (Hawaii), Sr.: The Cal State Northridge(m) commit was held in check, but at times showed flashes of why he is one of the top players in Hawaii. He has good size, speed and technical ability.
M Elvis Mensah, San Luis Obispo (Calif.), Sr.: Almost delivered the play of the game with a back heel that sprung a teammate for a scoring chance that ended up being saved. Mensah show flashes of creativity that kept Servite guessing when the ball was at his feet.
M Cypress Navarro-Acio, Kapolei (Hawaii), Sr.: Navarro-Acio was one of the few Kapolei players who was able to body-up to the San Clemente midfielders.
D Jacob Ryan, Corona del Sol (Ariz.), Sr.: Ryan's workrate was off the chart. After the team fell behind 2-0, it was Ryan who helped keep Corona del Sol focused and got the team back into the match in the second half.
M/F Uriel Sanchez, Servite (Calif.), Sr.: Sanchez has been a fixture on the Lotto Showcase daily standouts the past few years. On this night, he delivered the game-winning penalty kick in the shootout to send Servite into the semifinals.
M Eduardo Serrano, Brophy Prep (Ariz.), Sr.: Serrano was very consistent throughout the match and was always around the ball.
M Nelson Tabarez, San Clemente (Calif.), Jr.: Tabarez converted a penalty kick to start the scoring and added a goal from the run of play to end as the day's only multi-goal scorer.
D Owen Underwood, Torrey Pines (Calif.): Underwood was a force at center back for Torrey Pines, and constantly shut down the Brophy attack.