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de Leon's Winner Starts Great Day (1/24)

It was one of the best days of the year so far for the Valley Christian Boy's Varsity Soccer team.  The day started off with a 2pm game against WCAL rival Sacred Heart Cathedral.


The Warriors fell 5-1 to the Irish earlier in the season, but were looking to exact some revenge.  Austin Mansker, who missed the first game while with the National Team, was back in goal for VC.  However, standout sophomore Justin Cordeiro, was still out with a bone contusion in his foot.


"We really miss Justin in our center.  We have lots of players who can fill in, but he's one of those guys that you don't really realize how big he is for you until he's not there.  We hope to have him back soon," Coach Fugate said.


With rain seemingly looming, the game started off well for the Warriors.  Alex de Leon fed Trevor Plug for a breakaway that the SHC goalkeeper made a nice save on.


Moments later, the Warriors would survive a scare when SHC's star player put his cleats into Mansker's chest while charging for a ball.  The play put Austin on his back, but he was ok.


"That was scary.  I haven't seen a challenge like that in a long time.  I don't think the kid did it on purpose, it was just an unfortunate thing.  Thankfully, other than bruises in the shape of a cleat, Austin is ok." Coach Basanese said following the game.


The Warriors continued to pressure through the middle and on the flanks. 


In the 32nd minute, Danny Hittler got a nosebleed, a common occurence for him.  Junior defender Will Pitman subbed in and had an immediate impact.


Jake Joseph fed Will down the line on a free kick.  Will saved the ball from going out of bounds, beat a defender, and whipped in a perfectly placed cross.  Alex de Leon was making a near post run, and deftly flicked the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper, and into the net. 1-0 VC.


Video of the goal can be seen here.


The game would go to halftime with the Warriors leading 1-0.


After a halftime speech refocused the team, the Warriors came out and secured the game with a solid second half.  Several near misses kept the score 1-0.  The Warriors outshot Sacred Heart Cathedral, who never seemed to get their rhythm, 8-5.


According to coach Basanese, the game represents another important step for VC.


"Sacred Heart Cathedral is a great team.  They've had some very nice results this year, and they've had others that they probably deserved to win.  I have great respect for Jeff Wilson's program, and today was just our day.  It was one of those games where we set the tone, and didn't really give them too many chances.  I keep telling my kids, if we can just be tough to breakdown, Austin will save any outside shot.  We did that today, and we were successful."


The Warriors move to 2-8 in league as they head into Tuesday's clash with Bellarmine, at home.  The last time the Warriors played the Bells, they took a 1-0 lead before falling 2-1 on a late Bell winner.  The game was played at Santa Clara University, and was one of the best games of the year to watch.


For Valley, the game was just the beginning.


The team headed home to shower up before re-gathering at 6:30pm at the school.  The team ate some pizza, and then turned out to watch the Varsity Girl's basketball team defeat Notre Dame Belmont. 


The VC boys sat together and cheered the girl's throughout the game.


"That basketball game was so fun!" Austin Mansker said later in the night.


After the game, the Warriors headed down to Fugate's classroom for some more pizza, and team building time.  The discussions covered appreciating our parents, character, dating, and affirmations. 


The night continued at 11:30 pm back in the gym where the boys ran around like crazy people having a blast.  They played dodgeball, basketball, and indoor soccer before finally falling asleep around 4am on the floor of the gym.


Part way through the night, there was a very funny moment that was somehow captured on film (luck).


You can see the video here.


The next morning, the team awoke at 7:30, cleaned the gym, and headed to the locker room.  It was here that the boys showered before having a great breakfast.


Afterwards, the team wrote some letters, read some affirmations, and then headed off to Venture Christian Church to go to high school group.


At 12 noon, the boys returned to the school good and tired, ending a tremendously fun day and a half.


"I'm so lucky with these guys.  They are so well behaved that I can actually have fun alongside them.  I don't think that there are many coaches who can say that.  I think we grew as a team over the past two days.  The relationships that these guys build on this team have the potential to be life-long relationships, and that's more important than any soccer game.  I'm blessed to be a part of this," Basanese concluded.


Photos from the sleepover can be found here.

Funny Video from team sleepover


Game Notes: Will Pitman's assist was the first point of his Varsity career.


VCSoccer.com Man of the Match: Alex de Leon (Game Winner)

Valley Christian 1 0 1
Sacred Heart Cath. 0 0 0


Scoring Summary: Alex de Leon (Will Pitman)

VC Starting Lineup: Mansker, Joseph, Berding, Gizzi, Hittler, Tarangioli, Ramirez, Rosa-Diniz, Choi, Plug, de Leon

Game time:  2pm
Weather: Overcast, cool