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Sage Hill denied in clash

Boys' Soccer

Lightning miss shot to tie for lead in Academy League after losing to rival St. Margaret's.

January 27, 2012|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza
(Kevin Chang / Daily…)

NEWPORT COAST — Sage Hill School's second soccer match against St. Margaret's began like the first one.

Once again, the Lightning fell behind their rivals by two goals.

During halftime, Coach Andrew May warned his Tartans about what happened the last time they were in this situation against Sage Hill.

Three weeks ago, the Lightning rallied late to tie host St. Margaret's and force overtime.

Sage Hill Coach Ignacio Cid said he didn't remind his players about the last meeting. The Lightning remembered how close they came to upsetting the Tartans back then.

If they planned to be the first team to beat St. Margaret's in Academy League play, the Lightning had to rally again in the second half.

They got within one goal after Jack Percival converted a penalty kick in the 52nd minute.

Then in the waning minutes of Friday's matchup, the Lightning twice came close to getting the equalizer. The first shot off a header went wide and then the second shot off a foot soared over the crossbar.

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The Tartans closed it out with a late goal to win, 3-1, and remain perfect in league and in first place.

Cid expects the Tartans to stay atop the league because St. Margaret's has handled every league opponent. The team that gave the defending champion Tartans (14-4-3, 6-0-0 in league) their biggest scare was Sage Hill (6-5-0, 5-2-0).

The Lightning came close the first time in the league opener.

The second time around, they just couldn't put away that second goal to force another overtime.

The Tartans, ranked ninth in the CIF Southern Section Division VI poll, ended Sage Hill's five-game winning streak.

"They gave if it a heck of a run in the second half," Cid said of his players. "We were pressing them and we had some good looks. It just didn't go our way."

The first half definitely didn't favor Sage Hill. Cid said his team was to blame.

The Lightning fell behind, 1-0, before fans settled into the bleachers. Luis Ceballos found the back of the net with a header.

Then midway through the first half, David Field dribbled deep in the box before unleashing a goal toward the far post. The Lightning were in a hole and Cid at halftime explained to his team why that was the case.

"I just kind of said that they were giving it away," Cid said. "We were lucky to just get out [down] 2-0."

The young Tartans, who start six sophomores and one freshman, appeared in control. Their only mistake came early in the second half.

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