by Lou Ponsi
Photo Credit: Kyusung Gong
ANAHEIM >> The Servite boys soccer team hadn’t forgotten about what happened when it played Huntington Beach earlier in the season.
Servite took on the Oilers for a second time Tuesday in a CIF SS Division 1 semifinal at Servite High School. The Friars, who are top-ranked team in the division, made sure the outcome was different this time.
Servite scored two first-half goals and controlled the action throughout most of the contest, earning a 2-0 victory over the Oilers.
Servite will play JSerra in an all-Trinity League final on Saturday at JSerra High. JSerra won at Mira Costa, 2-0, in the other Division 1 semifinal.
Going into Tuesday’s contest, the Friars were determined to be at their best after losing to the Oilers 2-0 on Dec. 16.
“We knew we had to come out a lot harder and a lot stronger, with a different mentality,” said Eddie Villeda, who leads the Friars in goals (17) and assists (21). “The first game, we really didn’t know what to expect. This time we knew what to expect.”
Offensively, the Friars were methodical, making frequent passes and getting every attacker involved.
In the 21st minute, a yellow card was issued against a Huntington Beach player, giving the Friars a free kick from the right side of the field nearly even with right goal post.
Villeda took the kick and made a seemingly impossible shot, curving the ball around the post and into the goal.
20’ Goooooooal! Servite strikes first as Eddie Villeda scores on the free kick, 1-0! pic.twitter.com/oRsRXcL9em— Servite Soccer (@ServiteSoccer) February 22, 2022
“It was supposed to be a cross (pass), but my coach said if the sun is in the keeper’s eye, just hit it,” Villeda said. “So I hit it and prayed it went in. I’m glad it went in.”
Servite’s second goal came in the 34th minute, when Luke DaVanon made a cross pass into the box, where A.J. Campbell and Joe Moyer were positioned.
Campbell made a kick, but he unintentionally kicked the ball laterally over to Moyer, who then tapped the ball into the goal.
Defensively, the Friars prevented the Oilers from getting off good shots.
The Oilers’ only opportunities came on set pieces, but the Friars managed to clear the ball up field almost every time.
Huntington Beach’s best scoring chance came late in the game, when Grant James’ header hit the crossbar.
Servite last won the Division 1 championship in 2020 under former coach Jon Spencer.
This trip to the finals is the first for Servite’s second-year coach Eddie Soto.
“I’m happy but we’ve got one more,” Soto said.
In 2021, Servite was defeated by Loyola, 1-0, in the semifinals.