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Boys' Soccer: Sage still atop league

Lightning rout Brethren Christian and remain in first place in the Academy League.

February 06, 2014|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza
(KEVIN CHANG / Daily…)

Twelve minutes into the boys' soccer match at Sage Hill School, the scoreboard showed the Lightning ahead, 9-0. The hosts led Brethren Christian in the first half, just not by that many goals on Thursday.

Maybe the scoreboard operator tried to predict the outcome on a rainy night.

The operator wasn't that off when it came to the final score of the Academy League match. Sage Hill earned a convincing 8-0 victory, improving to 9-0-1 in league.

Next week the regular season wraps up with Sage Hill playing host to defending league champion St. Margaret's. Only one team expects to finish unbeaten in league.

"The winner of that game will be league champ," said Gabriel Lucatero, who is in his first season in charge of the Lightning.

Lucatero is enjoying an abundance of success in his debut season as a varsity head coach. Sage Hill is 13-0-2 overall and ranked No. 10 in the CIF Southern Section Division 6 poll.

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Before Sage Hill faces St. Margaret's, it travels to Crean Lutheran on Saturday. Sage Hill is looking to claim its first league title since the 2006-07 season. Seven seasons ago, the program went 15-1-2, 10-0-0 in league, suffering its lone loss in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division VI playoffs.

Sage Hill isn't perfect in league this season, but it plans to make a deep playoff run. The only team Sage Hill has failed to beat in league is St. Margaret's. The match on Jan. 24 at St. Margaret's ended in a 1-1 tie.

The rest of the nine league matches have easily gone Sage Hill's way. Outside of St. Margaret's, Sage Hill has outscored opponents, 66-3.

Experience and talent has elevated the Lightning past five of the six teams in league. The team only lost one player to graduation, and it was the backup goalkeeper.

Ten seniors have been on the roster this season. Lucatero pulled up two seniors from junior varsity for its match against lowly Brethren Christian.

"[Thursday] was not the official senior night. That's going to take place next Thursday against St. Margaret's," Lucatero said. "But I had a conversation with the team and mentioned to [the players] that I would play all of the seniors on the team to start either the second half or the beginning of the game. In this case, I started them in the second half."

Lucatero could afford to play anyone against a winless team like Brethren Christian. Getting a 3-0 lead at halftime, with Kavi Sakraney, Nikolai Sadeghi and Dakshin Jandhyala recording goals, helped.

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