By Alex Leichenger
The week before a tie at home against Bell Gardens Friday, the boysâ soccer team advanced to the semifinals of the three-day, four-game Aliso Cup tournament.
The Wolverines defeated Upland 3-0 in their first Aliso Cup game Dec. 2 at Ted Slavin Field. They won 2-1 at Salesian Friday, then tied Servite 1-1 Saturday to earn a semifinal berth against Santa Ana, to whom they lost in penalty kicks.
The Wolverines were without forward and midfielder Victor Kroh â10, who suffered a strained quadriceps, and forward Josh Lerner â11, sidelined by a groin injury amd goalie Alex Silverman â10, forward Michael Williams â11 and defender Alex Markes â11, who had varying commitments that prevented them from taking part in the semifinal game.
“We finished basically in the top four in that tournament out of 25 outstanding teams,” Head Coach Freddy Arroyo said. “Our goal was to get the championship, but I was satisfied with the way the team played in that tournament, given the circumstances of our injuries and not having a complete team.”
Although Kroh and Lerner were still out for precautionary reasons on Friday, the Wolverines closed the gap from the 3-0 loss they suffered against Bell Gardens last season. A.J. Hongâs â10 goal gave the Wolverines the lead going into halftime before Bell Gardens evened the score.
“We can compete with anyone this year,” Arroyo said last Tuesday. “Bell Gardens is one of the top Division II teams in the area. We played Servite, who is a powerhouse in Division I. We played Salesian, who won CIF Division V, so we can play with anyone.”
The team will play Cathedral Thursday and host the Valley Classic tournament Dec. 19-22.
“We have a lot of home games, so we have to try to take care of business,” Arroyo said.
After the SoCal showcase tournament in Oceanside, the team will visit St. Francis for its first league game Jan. 6.