Sage stays ahead

Lightning beat Saddleback Valley Christian, advances to quarterfinal for home game against Santa Clara.

February 23, 2010|By Cesar Gonzalez

NEWPORT COAST — Sage Hill School junior midfielder Colton Gyulay says the Lightning need to close out games, especially in the CIF Southern Section Division VII playoffs.

His goal in the 23rd minute helped that cause, as the Lightning beat Saddleback Valley Christian, 2-1 in the second round Tuesda. Gyulay’s goal gave Sage Hill (19-8-2) a 2-0 lead.

“Scoring the goal provided some cushion and took some pressure off,” Gyulay said.

Playing at home also helped the Lightning, which at one time thought it would be playing at SVC because of a ball violation. But the CIF Southern Section office made a clerical error and Sage Hill regained its home game.


The Lightning will be playing at home again Thursday for its quarterfinal game against Santa Clara of Oxnard. Santa Clara won, 4-3, at Victor Valley Christian, but lost the coin flip to Sage Hill.

The Lightning didn’t appear to need any luck against SVC.

Sage Hill scored first. In the 10th minute, junior midfielder Matthias Russo-Larsen passed the ball into the six-yard box. The Warriors were unable to clear the ball and senior forward Jake Blitzer dribbled past one defender and beat the Warrior goalie near post.

The Lightning kept putting pressure on the Warriors (14-7-4) almost converting on numerous chances that either went over the crossbar or wide of the net. About 13 minutes later, the Lightning were able to find the back of the net.

Russo-Larsen took a corner kick from the right side and kicked the ball low. Gyulay beat his defender to the ball. He then was able to control the ball and beat the Warrior keeper near post.

A few minutes later, senior midfielder Julius Lee beat two defenders and passed the ball to a wide-open Gyulay, who took a shot outside the 18-yard box.

But the goalie recorded a save, deflecting the ball over the crossbar.

After the first half, the Lightning had a comfortable lead, 2-0.

In the second half, there really wasn’t much action until about four minutes left in the game.

Warrior midfielder Garrett Mehrguth took the ball and beat three defenders and passed the ball to Matthew Crichton.

Crichton beat Lightning sophomore goalie Mason Weinstein near post to make it, 2-1.

The Warriors almost scored, as they had a free kick just outside the 18, but were unable to convert.

Sage Hill Coach Noureddine El-Alam declined to speak with the media.

The Warriors were able to hold Sage Hill senior Taylor Ross scoreless.

Ross has scored 21 goals this season, which is the school’s single-season scoring record. His older brother, Braden, held the former record, scoring 16 goals.

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