May 29, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: La Habra celebrates So Cal Regional title with 4-2 win over St. John Bosco

La Habra’s boys soccer team celebrates after winning the regional Saturday. (Photos courtesy Jim McCormack, For OC Sports Zone)

Not even two cold showers could cool Joel Carlisle’s joy over seeing his La Habra boy’s soccer team’s 4-2 victory over host St. John Bosco Saturday in the CIF Division II SoCal Regional Championship title game.

“I could see yesterday that this is something the guys really wanted,” he said after being doused with ice water for the second time. “To be able to share this with my wife, and my son, who is on the team, is really wonderful for me.”

To see the slide show, please click on the first photo

And for his Highlanders, knocked out of the CIF playoffs by a 1-0 loss to eventual CIF champion Channel Islands, the SoCal Regionals were a second-chance opportunity, and La Habra took full advantage of a very big challenge.

They opened the regionals as a No. 7 seed so all of their matches were on the road, beating No. 2 Marquez of Huntington Park, 3-2, Tuesday and then winning at Santa Maria, 3-0 on Thursday while Bosco, which had lost to Channel Islands, 2-1, in the CIF finals was winning its rematch, 1-0.

The theory could be that Thursday’s win over Channel Island took a lot out of the Braves, but Carlisle reminded those holding that thought that the Highlanders had travelled two hours further to beat Santa nMaria.

“It was a four hour trip up, and a four-hour trip back,” he said. “The kids didn’t get to bed until Friday morning.

But, if they were suffering from bus lag, it wasn’t apparent Saturday. The Highlanders were the aggressor from the first touch, scoring three times in the first half, the first goal coming barely four minutes into the match when Dane Grassbaugh put a shot in the goal.

“Dane has been such a rock for me since his freshman year,” Carlisle said. “He was sick and hurt much of his sophomore and junior years but this year he has been healthy throughout the season.

“His heart was broken with the semifinal loss (to Channel Islands) and it took him a while get get mentally focused again, but he had an assist on the winning goal Tuesday and that got him going again. Dane scoring that first goal today electrified the bench.”

Aldo Ramirez’s score in the 18th minute made it 2-0 and  Gabriel Castillo’s successful penalty kick in the 21st minute expanded the advantage to 3-0 at the half.

Any thoughts of a Bosco comeback seemed doomed when La Habra pushed its advantage to 4-0 at the 42-minute mark when Brady Hart scored.

La Habra’s aggressive style, offensively and defensively, kept Bosco’s side out of sorts throughout much of the match but the Braves got an uplifting break in the 68th minute when a La Habra defender misplayed a header for an own goal.

Two minutes later Bosco’s Christian Breuggemann scored on a spectacular drive, trimming the La Habra lead to 4-2. Breuggermann’s goal was the Braves’ first shot on goal in the match.

The Bosco intensity increased dramatically at that point and La Habra had to play a man down for the last 10 minutes after a Highlander received his second yellow of the match but Bosco could not capitalize.

 La Habra finished the season 21-7-4. St. John Bosco ended 22-8-3.

-Courtesy Jim McCormack, For OC Sports Zone