First-year Golden Valley coach Guillermo Castro believed unequivocally that his back line would hold.
So, even as Chatsworth High put on a late scoring siege, pressing Golden Valley defenders deep into their own 18-yard box and the Grizzlies to the brink of a fifth straight tie or loss, Castro didn’t feel nervous.
He didn’t have to.
Golden Valley fended off the Chancellors, 1-0, on Friday at home for its first win of the year.
“Finally,” Castro said as the referee signaled the end of second-half stoppage time.
The sentiment held true for Golden Valley (1-3-1), which secured its first win under its new coach after being outscored 12-2 over its first four games.
The slow start necessitated a team meeting Thursday to talk about expectations and attitude.
Castro believes Golden Valley has the talent to make the CIF playoffs, even after winning only two games last season.
But, he wants them first to focus on winning just three games. Meaning they are a third of the way there.
“We get those other two and anything above that is a bonus,” Castro said Friday. “(Then it’s) let’s see if we can get a fourth one, a fifth one, sixth, seventh. Eventually we could be top of the table.”
Friday, Golden Valley junior Anthony Hernandez scored off a rebound midway through the first half to give Golden Valley the only goal it would ultimately need.
Another score, though, would have made the Grizzlies more comfortable at the end, when Chatsworth created multiple scoring opportunities.
“We would have liked to have had more of a handle on the game toward the end,” said senior defender Hayden Allen, “(the way it played out) can get a little bit nerve-racking.”
Castro said a lack of ball control was crucial.
“The second half started out fantastic,” he said. “But we need to mange the game a lot better, keeping possession and letting the other team do the running.”
Chatsworth (0-3-1) put pressure on Golden Valley in the closing minutes like a team also desperate for its first win of the young season.
But with strong defense from players like Golden Valley’s Francisco Perez, it was to no avail.
“It’s frustrating when you have some chances and you just cant put them away,” said Chatsworth coach Roberto Rivera.