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Brawley and La Jolla play to tie

January 05, 2002|By ROBERT FULTON

Special to this newspaper

LA JOLLA — The soccer teams from Brawley Union and La Jolla high schools battled for 80 minutes here at Edwards Field on Friday, but wrapped up the afternoon exactly how they started, knotted 0-0.

"A tie on the road is good," said Wildcats head coach Frank Felix. "I'm satisfied with the performance, but I think the team needs to gel more."

The tie was a victory of sorts for Brawley, who fell to these Vikings last year in the CIF playoffs 4-1. Recollections of that loss have not faded from the Wildcats' memories.

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"This year I think we took this game more personal," Felix said. "Last year they beat us in the playoffs, so we wanted to come out here today and prove that we belong at this level of competition and we showed that tonight."

Unlike last year, La Jolla was unable to jump to an early lead.

"Last year we were able to score an early goal," said Viking head coach Eric Chaisongkram. "Whenever you are able to score an early goal, the boys play with more confidence. That's always a factor."

It was not as if Brawley did not have opportunities to win. The Wildcats had a number of shots that were close but sailed short of their mark, including two in the waning minutes of the match.

"The game was very even," Felix said. "I thought we had better opportunities in goal, but we were just very unlucky. We had an opportunity to win it with the last kick of the game."

La Jolla also had a number of opportunities to score. After dominating most of the first half, the Vikings could have easily had a 2-0 lead heading into halftime.

"I thought we could have created a little bit more, but we had missed opportunities," Chaisongkram said. "It's that extra click or a little bit of luck. I always tell the guys, you can play beautiful soccer, but it comes down to an ugly goal."

Instead, the Brawley defense turned it on to fend off any Viking scoring strikes.

"Overall I thought our defense played really well," Felix said. "It kept us in the game. We came here for the victory but we'll go home with the tie.

"Our defense was very solid in the back," he continued. "They had some opportunities in the goal, but I felt that our defense was at the right place at the right moment. That was the difference in the game."

The second half saw more activity and more pressure from Brawley.

The tie sets the Wildcats' record at 3-6-2 with Imperial Valley League play around the corner. La Jolla stands at 3-2-2.

"We go home with the feeling that we can compete with San Diego schools," Felix said. "It gives us a big boost, big momentum, going into league next week. Hopefully we can learn from this performance tonight."

The Wildcats return to the field in Blythe as they play Palo Verde at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

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