Valencia boys soccer earns repeat title

The Valencia varsity boys soccer team celebrates their 2-0 victory over Saugus on Tuesday. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

The scene was old and new, fresh yet familiar.

Valencia High boys soccer players and coaches rushed the field Tuesday night like they had several times during 2016’s historic run, jumping and yelling, this time in celebration of a second straight Foothill League title.

But, the 2-0 home win over Saugus High lifted this year’s Vikings, a core of veterans sprinkled with newcomers, to a feat the ’16 team didn’t even accomplish. Valencia reached 9-0-0 in Foothill League play, one win from the school’s first 10-0-0 run.

“Today, more than anything else, we wanted to get them down early,” said senior Josh Ferguson, who scored Valencia’s first goal in the 35th minute after playing a key role in the 2016 run to the Santa Clarita Valley’s first-ever CIF SoCal Regional title.

PHOTOS: Valencia takes Foothill title in win over Saugus

The Vikings (16-2-3 overall) graduated two All-CIF players and a goalie from that team, but Ferguson has worked with veteran Cesar Dominguez and newcomers like Brennan Book and Ian Young to lead Valencia to a third outright Foothill title in five years.

Book was key Tuesday.

The sophomore ran onto Tyler Traber’s long ball in the first half, beat a defender and lifted a cross to Ferguson, who headed it into the net for his 20th goal of the year.

“He laid it in perfect for me. All I had to do was run in and head it down,” Ferguson said. “It was all in the detail.”

Book headed in a goal himself in the 50th minute — off a long, pinpoint pass from Julio Dominguez — to all but seal the title. Valencia entered only needing a tie to win it outright.

“Coach told us before the game if we played the entire game and they don’t score a goal, we win even if we don’t score,” Book said. “So, mentally we for sure were focused on defense first.”

The goals, though, let Viking fans breathe easier in a second half where Saugus (12-6-4, 6-2-1) applied pressure.

Isaac Nua launched multiple throw-ins into Valencia’s 18-yard box, but the threats proved empty.

“It’s frustrating. But I’m proud of how we played. We battled to the very end,” said Saugus coach Seth Groller, whose teams had played to a 7-7-9 record against Valencia over the last 11 years entering the night.

2017 wasn’t as even. The Vikings won the two matchups by a combined 6-0 score.

Valencia will close out league against Hart on Thursday.

“Because we’re champions,” said Vikings coach Tony Scalercio, “Thursday doesn’t matter.”

West Ranch 2, Canyon 1

Freddy Montes and Bradley Nichols scored for West Ranch (5-8-1, 3-6-0).
Canyon fell to 0-16-5 and 0-8-1.

Hart 3, Golden Valley 1

Pedro Consuelo scored for Golden Valley (2-14-3, 1-7-1). Hart is 16-5-3 overall and 6-2-1 in league.

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