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Austin Mansker


WCAL's Best Handles VC

With raucous weather in the forecast, the Valley Christian Warriors hosted the WCAL's first place team, Bellarmine.  Bellarmine is also the CCS and State of California's top team, and are ranked in the top 5 nation-wide.


The Warriors worked hard over the winter break to be prepared for the Bells.  Unfortunately, the game got off to a difficult start for VC with Bellarmine scoring in the 1st minute.


"I didn't even see a shot," coach Basanese said. "That was definitely not in our game plan."


A flurry in the Warrior box lead to a deflection that found it's way across the line, 1-0 Bellarmine.


A few minutes later, the Bells scored again on a very nice seam pass that left the striker in alone with Austin Mansker. 2-0 Bells.


Bellarmine would control play, and eventually make it 3-0 before halftime.


The Warriors would try to recover, but a three goal deficit against a team like Bellarmine, is not easy.


"I have to say, I've never seen a high school team that is that solid at every position.  Not to mention their depth is pretty scary.  After awhile, you can't even really tell who their starters are.  They are an incredible team," Basanese said.


"Still, I thought the goals we conceded were completely avoidable defensively, in the first half.  Austin had a brilliant game to keep us in it. Bellarmine is going to score goals, but you can't make it easy for them.  My hat's off to them though, they finished their chances and made us pay.  The 3 goal hole was a little much for us today."


The second half would see a different Warriors side.  After the halftime discussion, the players came out focused, and began playing with more passion.  A few near misses kept them off the score sheet, but it was definitely an improvement.


"If we start the game the way we started the second half, there is no way we concede two early goals like that.  We've got to be better at the beginning of games," assistant coach David Fugate said.


While the game was somewhat lopsided, there were some positives for the fans who turned out to see the game, Basanese said.


"Hey, it was an entertaining game.  We play the same style as Bellarmine, moving the ball around the field, they just do it a lot better than us right now.  We're still learning, and it's great for us to see competition like this.  That is a well coached, well organized team...and they set the standard in the WCAL, a standard we're working towards.  We'll get there, we believe in our kids, losses won't change that."


The Warriors will recover quickly to face Serra at home on Saturday at 11am.  Please check the website, as the weather may cause this game to be delayed. 


Photos from the match can be found here.  Special thanks to John (Sr.) and Josh Basanese for dealing with the wind and rain to get these shots!


VCSoccer.com Man of the Match:  Austin Mansker (11 saves)

Bellarmine College Prep 3 2 5
Valley Christian 0 0 0

VC Starting Lineup:  Mansker, Walitsch, Cardoza, Hittler, Reyes, Tarangioli, Joseph, Alex de Leon, Christian de Leon, Nelson, Fahmy

Game time:  3:15
Weather: 52 degrees, driving rain and wind (20mph)