Valencia soccer comes back, beats Castaic  

Valencia junior Maxime Jolley (11) dribbles the ball against Castaic defense on Thursday, Dec. 7. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
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Valencia Vikings boys’ soccer erased a multiple-goal deficit and stormed to victory over the hosting Castaic Coyotes in a Foothill League shootout.  

The Vikings won the road battle, 4-3, scoring all four goals unanswered, and notched their first league win of the year on Thursday. 

Castaic (1-4-3, 0-2-1) took a quick 2-0 lead in the first 15 minutes behind some strong pressure and energy to start. The second goal finally shook the Vikes (2-3-1, 1-1-1) awake, and they immediately answered.  

Valencia forward Max Jolley worked the ball up the right sideline before firing a cross into the box. Sophomore Henry Sarkisyan fired a shot on goal that deflected around before finding Vikings senior Paolo Salmeron, who sent in the team’s first score.  

The equalizer came off Valencia’s second penalty kick of the half and, after an early miss by an injured Jordan Cardenas, Jolley stepped in and drilled the PK. 

“It was really nice to see them respond,” said Valencia coach Jose Villafan. “They reacted and got it together. The first half was a real testament to how good Castaic could be, and we were definitely not ready for them to come out how they did.” 

The goal of the game came off the boot of junior forward Andres Alonzo. Yet another Coyote foul set up a free kick just outside of the 18-yard line, where Alonzo fired a high shot over the Castaic wall that just curled into the back left of the net. 

Valencia junior Andres Alonzo (17) goes up for a header during the first half of the game against Castaic on Thursday, Dec. 7. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Villafan was impressed with the team’s turnaround as well Sarkisyan, who usually plays up front for the Vikes but delivered a strong performance in the midfield on Thursday. 

“Henry Sarkisyan, we dropped him in the midfield and he calmed the midfield down and settled the midfield play,” Villafan said. “He was huge and instrumental in today’s win. We needed some presence on the field and he’s a big body and technical. He killed it today at that position.”  

Valencia’s Diego Jovel subbed in and gave the team new life with a goal to go up 4-2 in stoppage time. The Coyotes had chances and pressured in the second half but couldn’t find an answer until after Jovel’s goal. 

Castaic junior Ronny Castruita (7) dribbles the ball against Valencia defense during the first half of Thursday’s game at Castaic High School. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Castaic captain Alexis Silva sent a big throw-in to centerfield, where junior Ronny Castruita was able to control and fire in the ball for the Coyotes’ third goal of the day. 

Coyotes senior Ali Eldaoushy scored the first score of the day after scoring off a tipped throw-in in the 10th minute of play.  

Castaic’s Alex Banaei (9) heads the ball, scoring the second goal of Thursday’s game against Valencia during the first half. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Just minutes later, after missing a would-be goal off of a corner kick, Alex Banaei got another chance. The ball found Banaei after being tipped around the box, where the senior sent in the 2-0 goal. 

Castaic practically set up shop in Valencia territory and made the Vikings pay with two early goals before the road team found life. 

“I thought we started off very slow and soft,” Villafan said. “We definitely went in there not prepared for the intensity Castaic had. They did a great job pressuring us and forcing our defenders into bad decisions. I thought their pressure created havoc and we couldn’t get into rhythm, we had turnovers, and they capitalized right away.” 

After a loss and draw, Valencia found its first league victory of the season and did so down two goals. 

“It feels good to get the win, especially in our league, but games like this remind me how hard it is to win in our league,” Villafan said. 

The Coyotes may have dropped another league game but continue to make strides in just their third season of league play. The three-goal day matched the team’s scoring output in its last four matches combined. 

Castaic returns to league play in the new year and will head to Hart on Tuesday, Jan. 2, at 3:15 p.m. 

Valencia will have one more league outing before its winter break as the team heads to West Ranch on Thursday at 3:15 p.m. 

Valencia junior Matthew Juarez (25) and Castaic junior Logan Mietzner (13) fight for the ball during the second half of Thursday’s game at Castaic High School. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Valencia senior Jordan Cardenas (18) dribbles the ball against Castaic defense during Thursday’s game against Castaic High School. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Castaic center Alexis Silva (4) and Valencia junior Hayden Houston (3) fight for the ball on the sideline on Thursday, Dec. 7. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Valencia junior Diego Jovel (6) jumps up for a header during Thursday’s game against Castaic. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

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