Men's Soccer

Men's soccer team holds off Rio Hondo, moves to regional final

Courtesy of On My Game Photography
Courtesy of On My Game Photography

Irvine Valley's men's soccer team avenged an earlier loss this season and also moved on to the Southern California Regional Playoff finals for the second year in a row with a tough 3-2 victory over Rio Hondo Tuesday afternoon at home.

Irvine Valley, seeded fourth, improved its record to 16-4-3 overall. Fifth-seeded Rio Hondo had its season with a record of 9-5-9 overall.

Irvine Valley lost to Rio Hondo, 3-2, on the road on Sept. 13.

The Lasers are a different team and a much more dangerous one now.

Heading into Tuesday's contest, IVC had scored 48 goals in 16 matches since the defeat at Rio Hondo.

And Irvine Valley got on the board firs in the seventh minute.

Sophomore forward Jose Rivera played a ball into the box to sophomore forward Connor Elder and Elder beat Rio Hondo keeper Jose Paredes with a hard, low shot to left corner of the net to make it 1-0.

The Lasers nearly increased their lead shortly after. Rivera blasted a shot that Paredes had to knock down. Sophomore forward Sean Goode was there for the rebound. He flicked the ball toward the goal, but it hit the post and rolled away.

IVC led, 1-0, at the half.

For the second straight match, Irvine Valley scored in the first minute of the second half.

Rivera took a shot that deflected off a defender and flew up in the air. Goode got up higher than anyone and headed the ball down into the net to give Irvine Valley a 2-0 lead.

Rio Hondo made it a game in the 55th minute with a goal. Jesus Garcia was there to finish a rebound off a shot from Nicholas Knapp to bring Rio Hondo to within 2-1.

In the 61st minute, Carlos Jimenez had a good chance for the Roadrunners, but missed wide left on a shot.

Goode put IVC back in front by two goals in the 70th minute. Rio Hondo lost the ball in its defensive end and Goode took advantage. He raced to the ball and then finished his shot past Paredes to make it a 3-1 match.

But Rio Hondo got back within a goal with six minutes left in the contest. IVC freshman goalie Blake Sigler was able to make three saves at close range, but Garcia put his attempt into the back of the net.

Rio Hondo tried to push in the final minutes to get a tie, but Irvine Valley's defense held on.

Goode's two goals gave him 20 on the season. Elder's goal put him at 14 and Rivera's two assists lifted his total to 14, which is among the state leaders.

Sigler made six saves in the match for IVC.

Irvine Valley moves back into the regional final for the second straight year and against the same team.

Mt. San Antonio defeated IVC last season, 2-1, to move on to state.

Irvine Valley will play at top-seeded Mt. SAC on Saturday at 2 p.m. with another trip to the state on the line.

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