Santa Margarita Catholic has weathered plenty of storms this season, but the Eagles' season was undone Wednesday by a Los Alamitos freshman who connected on the game's only score.
Aron Rudich tapped the ball past SMCHS goalkeeper Chandler Kirby about 13 minutes into the second half, and the Griffins’ defense made the goal stand up in a 1-0 victory in the second round of the Southern Section Division 1 boys' soccer playoffs.
Chandler Kirby had eight saves for Santa Margarita (19-4-4) and Connor Fatone six for Los Alamitos (21-3-6).
Santa Margarita got unwanted attention earlier this year when three players were allegedly involved in a hazing incident while on a team trip to Hawaii. After tying Mater Dei upon their return, the Eagles had reeled off 10 consecutive victories before losing to Los Alamitos, their first loss since Dec. 15.
The Griffins on Friday will play in the quarterfinals at L.A. Loyola, a 4-0 winner over West Torrance.
In other Division 1 games, second round
(1) San Clemente 2, Harvard-Westlake 1—Gage Zerboni had two second-half assists, to Blayne Martinez and—with about 15 minutes remaining—Santiago Digiuseppe to lift the top-seeded Tritons (27-2-1) to an important road victory. They will play Friday at home against Santa Barbara.
JSerra 1, Edison 0—Ether Bustos scored off an assist from Jonathan Fabulich in the 34th minute, and Gerardo Berber made a couple of saves to lift the Lions (17-3-3) to the quarterfinals for the third time in four seasons. JSerra will play host to fourth-seeded Palos Verdes on Friday.
Servite 1, (3) El Toro 0—Playing on the road, the Chargers were upset by Servite (13-8-7), which got a first-half goal from Esen Harris and six saves from Keith Murphy. El Toro’s Jeff Domenech and Jorge Rivas had three saves apiece as the Chargers—who had 13 shutouts on the season—failed to win for only the third time. They finish 25-2-1.
In Division 3, second round
Channel Islands 1, Corona del Mar 0—The Sea Kings became the second upset victim to the defending section finalist, which got into the playoffs as an at-large team. Channel Islands (13-6-5) scored 15 minutes into the game on a free kick from 20 yards, and preserved the victory when goalkeeper Salvador Perez blocked a penalty kick by CdM’s Jack Nowak in the final minute. Corona del Mar finished 11-8-5.
In Division 6, second round
(1) Rialto Carter 3, St. Margaret’s 0—The Tartans (11-5) hung with the division’s top-seeded team for a half, couldn’t maintain the pace in the second. Heriberto Lucero scored the first of his two goals in the 59th minute to break the 0-0 deadlock and give Carter (21-0-5) the victory.
(2) Inglewood Animo Leadership 7, Sage Hill 3—Three goals is usually enough to win, but Sage Hill (11-8-1) couldn’t keep up with the offensive firepower of the division’s second-seeded team. Will Burns’ goal evened the score early at 1-1, but Animo (21-2-1) scored the next three and the finish line was in sight. Burns scored twice, and Danny Lee once for the Lightning.