West Torrance boys soccer advances to CIF semifinals thanks to second-half goal and another shutout – Daily Breeze

TORRANCE — One goal and turn things over to Ethan Brandt in goal.

That has been the path to victory for the West Torrance boys soccer team for the past three games, starting with the Pioneer League title game and the first two rounds of the CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoffs.

On Wednesday against Salesian, the Warriors did what they know best.

Josh Laveaga scored midway through the second half and Brandt recorded eight saves to help lead the Warriors to a 1-0 victory and a spot in the Division 3 semifinals on Saturday.

“It was a reminder to do what you have been doing,” West coach Mike Shimizu said of the defensive effort. “Good team defense and take care of each other. The (weather) conditions are going to foster mistakes, and it’s going to be who is going to take care of those mistakes.

“Fortunately, they were no egregious (errors), but we were always there.”

Brandt and Salesian’s Sebastian Rivias could have put together their own highlight reel of saves from the second half alone. After a tight first half with limited chances on either side, the tempo opened up in the second half as both teams starting creating chances.

Off a free kick, West finally got something by Rivias.

“It was served by Koji (Ueoka), it went right into the box, over everyone, and then Justus (Duenas) headed it back and it fell right to me and I just put it away,” Laveaga said. “I feel like we had the game under control since the beginning, we just were having a little bit of trouble finishing our chances … all of our shots went right to the keeper.

“Once we settled down and collected ourselves, we were able to find the corners and put it away.”

With the one-goal lead, the Warriors had to stave off a wave of pressure from the Mustangs, including a shot from approximately 20 yards out by Wilson Leal that was on goal, but Brandt, taking advantage of his 6-foot-3 frame, was able to push the ball over the crossbar.

“They were a very good team,” Shimizu said of Salesian. “I don’t think we were surprised by anything either. They had a few guys that you had to be paying attention to, or he’s going to get by you. We made sure that we didn’t have any surprises.”

West will be on the road at La Habra in the semifinals.

“This is everything we’ve worked for since freshman year,” Laveaga said. “I hope we can take it all of the way. In the beginning of the season, we were playing insanely well and then something happened where we were having trouble scoring goals and then we just came up clutch at the end and we were able to put it away when we needed to.”

EL SEGUNDO 6, CHAFFEY 2 >> Jack Finders had two goals and an assist, and Sam Twigg recorded three assists as host El Segundo (22-1-1) took a 5-0 halftime lead in the CIF-SS Division 3 quarterfinal.

Casey Lund, Logan Pismopulos, Denis Vezina and Andre Hernandez also added goals for defending CIF champion El Segundo, which will visit Alta Loma, Saturday in the semifinals.

CARSON 2, NEUWIRTH 0 >> Zourth Cantos and Jesus Meza to lead the top-seeded Colts to the L.A. City Section Division IV quarterfinal win.

BANNING 1, SMIDT TECH 0 >> Gabriel Oropeza scored to open the second half for the Pilots in the L.A. City Section Division III quarterfinal win. No. 6 seed Banning will host No. 7 South East on Tuesday.

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