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Marin Strikes Gold for the Panthers
Posted On:
Friday, February 17, 2012
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Westlake Village Oaks Christian’s side was awarded the ball for the start of overtime Thursday. Pioneer Valley had the option of which direction to go on offense.

The Panthers on the field for the ceremony prior to the start of overtime didn’t hesitate. They pointed north when the referee gave them their option.

Good choice.

Pioneer Valley scored its two regulation goals in the north goal. Panthers forward Jorge Marin scored the winning goal there. The sophomore scored a Golden Goal in the seventh minute of overtime to give the Panthers a 3-2 win at Pioneer Valley in a riveting CIF-Southern Section first-round Division 5 boys soccer playoff game.

A Lions defender tried to knock Marin off the ball. He could not do it. Marin broke free and uncorked a shot from about 25 yards out. The ball glanced lightly off the left goal post and caromed in.

“I was just going to do what I had to do,” Marin said afterward.

“I did a bicycle kick to get free,” then Marin made the shot of the game.

The Panthers (15-6-3) will play Victorville Silverado at 3 p.m. next Tuesday in the second round. A coin flip will determine the game site. Pioneer Valley finished second in the PAC 7 League.

Oaks Christian’s season ended at 13-6-1 after the Lions wiped out a 2-0 first-half deficit.

Marin said he and his teammates were well aware that they had generated a lot of offensive momentum going toward the north goal in the first half of regulation and none toward the south goal in the second half.

“I was a little worried,” going into overtime, Marin acknowledged. The Lions, after a last-minute tying goal from Jackson Sullivan with an assist from Steven Pelino in the penalty box, had all the momentum as regulation time ended. 

The wind was at Pioneer Valley’s backs the first half. “The wind wasn’t a factor,” in overtime, said Marin. However, the Panthers’ attack perked up when the home team started heading north on offense again.

Pioneer Valley played long ball in the first half. The strategy paid off in the form of two goals.

Juan Robles, and then Marin, out-ran defenders and scored. Robles, on a pass from Joaquin Ruiz, struck from about 30 yards out in the 21st minute. Marin, on a feed from Robles, tallied from about 15 yards out in the 33rd.

The Lions took the attack to the Panthers from then on until overtime. Pioneer Valley coach Humberto Robles indicated that he believed the Lions’ first goal led to their second — even though the scores came about 39 minutes apart.

“Their first goal motivated them to come after us, to attack us,” said Pioneer Valley’s coach.

The Panthers couldn’t clear the ball out of their end as the first minute of first-half stoppage time wound down. Lion Matt Scipione took a pass from Andrew Delaplane, broke loose at about the Pioneer Valley 15 and scored.

Oaks Christian spent just about the entire second half of regulation in Pioneer Valley’s end. The Lions’ short passing game gave the Panthers fits, and the visitors got to just about every loose ball.

When the Panthers did manage to clear the ball toward midfield, Lions defender Justin Phillips was always in the right place to either kick the ball or head it and start Oaks Christian on the attack again.

Andrew Stalberger nearly gave the Lions the tying goal late in the second half. His header barely went over the top goal post.

Oaks Christian did get the tying goal in the 80th minute. The Panthers couldn’t clear a Lions throw-in out of their penalty box, and Sullivan scored.

“We just couldn’t get it together the second half,” said Marin. Mario Lopez and Miguel Garcia helped the Panthers defense stave off the Lions until Sullivan tallied.

Pioneer Valley goal keeper Miguel Mendez made nine saves.

Kenny Cress / Sports Writer / SM Times / 2/16/12

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