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Keeling's heroics lift Warriors in first WCAL game 12/08

Nobody said that life in California's toughest soccer league would be easy. The Valley Christian Warriors faced St. Francis in the opener of WCAL league play, on the road.  Getting results on the road is vital if a team is to compete in this league.

As could be expected, this one didn't come without a fight.  The St. Francis lancers came out gun's blarin'! 

"The way they started that game, I was nervous.  I knew if we could weather the initial storm, we could begin to play our game...I just didn't realize the storm would last that long," coach Basanese commented.

The weather was perfect, and the pristine new field turf field was on display.  The atmosphere was perfect for the rivalry that spans multiple sports between the two schools. 

In the 3rd minute of the match, Ben Hansen denied a one on one opportunity.  The St. Francis player got behind the VC defense and hit a laser destined for the net.  That is if one of the CCS's top net minders wasn't in goal.  Hansen sprawled out to make the save, and then smothered the rebound.

"I can't believe he saved that, I thought for sure we were down 1-0 when I saw that happening!" Senior Austin Keeling said after the game.

The Warriors would eventually get their footing, however.  A few chances were saved by the St. Francis 'keeper, and a few missed the goal.  Overall, a very poor first half for the Warriors.

After a quick intermission, the Warriors came out much stronger in the second half.  Several chances were denied and this game looked destined to be another 0-0 tie, everyone's favorite result.

In the 74th minute, Joey Stryker took a ball in the center of the field, about 30 yards out.  After beating a defender he lifted a picture perfect ball over the defense to Keeling who was making a back door run.  The ball freed Austin behind the defense.  He settled the ball and fired near post.  There was nothing the St. Francis 'keeper could do. The Warriors were on the board, 1-0 Valley.

In the final minutes, Jeff Coggan, Stryker, and Nathan Goldsmith were able to control the ball in the St. Francis end securing the win. 

For VC this is their 3rd win on the young season. The defense came up with another clean sheet, anchored by great play by Seaman, Zvolanek, McElhatton, Nettemeyer, and Ross Mark.  Ben Hansen picked up his 26th career shutout in a very strong performance.

The Warriors will now focus on a very strong St. Ignatius side that beat Serra 2-1 today.  The game is at Valley Christian this Saturday at 11am.

vcsoccer.com man of the match: Austin Keeling (1g)

Valley Christian 0 1 1
St. Francis 0 0 0

Scoring summary:

Keeling (Stryker) '74

VC Starting Lineup: Hansen, Zvolanek, Seaman, Mark, Nettemeyer, Field, Keeling, Coggan, Osuna, Goldsmith, Stryker

Weather: Partly cloudy, 63 degrees.