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by Lou Ponsi
Photo Credit: Michael Goulding

COSTA MESA — A well-executed scoring play in the first half and a clutch save in the second half were two of the main factors in the Servite soccer team’s 1-0 victory over Orange Lutheran in the Division II final of the CIF Southern California Regional playoffs Saturday at Orange Coast College.

The regional title is the second in three years for the Friars (21-6-2), who won the Division I championship in 2022.

“They came after us with a lot of energy,” Servite coach Eddie Soto said of Orange Lutheran. “They put a lot of pressure on us, which they needed to do and our guys never, never, never once broke and what I’m most proud of is they were very comfortable when things were uncomfortable. For me, that’s something that I stress throughout the year and I’m just really proud of them.”

The two Trinity League teams were facing off for the fourth time this season and the second time in a championship contest.

Servite defeated the Lancers, 3-1, in the CIF-SS Division 1 final on Feb. 24 and the teams spit their two league matches during the regular season.

Mattias Kremer scored the game’s only goal in the13th minute on a play that started with a throw-in from the left sideline, about 30 yards from the goal.

Two cross passes were made after the throw-in, with the second pass going to Ashton Ta-Tran.

Ta-Tran then passed to Kremer, who was posted close to the goal near the left goal post.

“I just kept continuing my run and he put it right where it needed to be and I got a little dive on it and a little poke and that’s all we needed,” Kremer said. “It held up. We moved into a few formations to keep the lead and towards the end it was a little bit of a back and forth but we held the lead and that’s what’s important.”

The Lancers (13-8-5) had opportunities to tie the score.

One chance came on Jimu Lee’s bicycle kick that sailed just over the goal.

Lett had scored the lone goal in the Lancers’ 1-0 victory over Crossroads in the regional semifinal on Thursday.

Orange Lutheran’s best chance came on Joaquin Chavez’s free kick from 35 yards out and in the middle of the field.

The kick was hard and to center of the goal, low enough to sneak just under the cross bar and high enough to be beyond the reach of most goalkeepers.

But Servite goalkeeper Talin Morgan stands 6-foot-6 and was able to leap high enough to poke the ball over the goal.

“I saw it coming, reacted, and pushed it over the bar to keep the shutout in the finals,” said Talin, a UC Davis commit. “It’s my senior year and it’s the last game ever with these boys. I’ve been with them for four years so there’s a lot of emotion behind this game.”

The Lancers took a big step up this season after winning the Division IV regional championship and Southern Section Division 4 championship last season.

“It really tested us,” Lancers coach Mike Oseguera said. “It tested our young players as well who stepped up huge, and to just grow the program.

“We had so much support and a ton of young guys on the sidelines with aspirations to be on the field one day. So, the future is super bright.”

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