Albert Einstein Academy boys soccer defeated Newbury Park Adventist 9-4 on Tuesday night after recovering from a 4-2 halftime deficit.
With the win, the Rockets (6-2-2 overall, 6-0 in Omega) stand in first place in the Omega League.
“It’s amazing,” said Einstein coach Ken Erenberg. “This is one of those gut checks where you expect your team to fold.”
Five-time defending league champions Newbury Park scored two goals within the first 15 minutes to set up a 2-0 lead, then added two more to lead 4-2 at halftime.
Erenberg quickly switched the defensive scheme to stop the scoring power of reigning league MVP Paea Makiroto.
“At halftime there was quite a bit of yelling, and we came out and responded in the second half,” Erenberg said.
The Rockets scored seven consecutive goals and held the Gators to no goals in the remainder of the game.
Samy Couja had four goals and two assists, while Phillip Stulman had two goals and two assists.
Einstein, who had its first CIF playoff appearance and first winning record last season, has been steadily improving over the years. This year’s record is the best in school history, according to Erenberg.
A talented crop of underclassmen are responsible for the progress. With only one senior on the team, the two top scorers are Couja, a junior, and Michael Hovsepian, a freshman.
The senior, Chaz Carl, and fellow defender Marshall Wood have taken care of shutting down offenses. Before the Newbury Park game, the back line had only allowed one goal in league.
“We’ve had a really good mix (of offense and defense),” Erenberg said. “Our defense has been doing well, and we have two of the top scorers in our division.”
If Einstein wins Thursday against Highland Hall and against Lighthouse Christian of Santa Monica on Friday, they can clinch the first league title in program history.