Norte Vista men’s soccer team reaches Division 3 final for second consecutive season – Press Enterprise
RIVERSIDE – Almost nine months have passed since the Norte Vista boys’ football program suffered a pair of heartbreaking 1-0 league game defeats against the Salesian. The sting persists, however.
“It’s something that can’t be hidden,” Braves coach Matthew Beliveau said of those losses in the CIF South Section and CIF State regional playoffs. “They’ve been motivated all year to get another chance. Hopefully this time we can finish what we started.
Norte Vista’s road to redemption continued on Tuesday afternoon with a convincing victory over No. 3 seed South Torrance. Ediberto Villicana scored twice in the first half and Jerry Guerrero netted in stoppage time. game to cap a 3-0 win in the CIF Southern Section Division 3 semi-final.
The Braves (16-3-6) will face Sunny Hills (16-3-4) in Saturday’s title game at Ramona High School.
“We were extremely motivated, especially after what happened last year,” Villicana said. “It’s my last year, and I really want to have this ring. Now we have to go out there and take that last step.
Villicana certainly did his part on Tuesday, scoring both of his goals just three minutes apart.
In the 13th minute, Freddy Hernandez sent a corner kick into the box. Gyro Dominguez put his head on the ball, but the shot was saved. Villicana pounced on the rebound and scored to give the Braves the lead. Three minutes later, Villicana scored another goal to double that advantage.
“We came out with a lot of intensity, which is what you always want to see as a coach,” Beliveau said. “Those two goals in a row were huge. It’s Mr. Momentum who will work.
It was a stunning turn of events for South Torrance (17-4-1), who posted shutouts in their previous two games and had conceded just 14 goals in 21 games before the semi-final.
Norte Vista goalkeeper Kevin Nevarez was rarely tested on Tuesday, although he had to retreat quickly and make a hasty save in the 32nd minute after coming out of the penalty area to play a ball.
South Torrance struggled to break the Norte Vista back four of Dominguez, Frank Valladares, Angel Rios and Christian Payan. Dominguez, in particular, cleared several balls out of danger.
“We’ve played solid defense all year,” Dominguez said. “We know that will be one of the most important things if we want to win it all this year.”
In stoppage time, Villicana sent a ball to Guerrero, who hammered the ball into the back of the net to cap the Braves’ score.