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St. Francis High soccer's Glen Appels notches milestone 400th win

Soccer: Golden Knights notch first league win and longtime coach's 400th victory overall.

January 15, 2014|By Andrew J. Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com
  • St. Francis High soccer Coach Glen Appels picked up victory No. 400 on Wednesday evening as St. Francis defeated Crespi, 2-1. (Tim Berger/File Photo)
St. Francis High soccer Coach Glen Appels picked up victory…

ENCINO — A storied 25-year-plus career highlighted by CIF Southern Section divisional championships along with league titles included one more Mission League victory Wednesday afternoon for St. Francis High soccer Coach Glen Appels.

Yet, perhaps it’s only Appels who regarded the Golden Knights’ 2-1 win at rival Crespi as important first and foremost because the triumph vaulted St. Francis back into league contention with an anticipated slugfest at CIF Southern Section Division I second-ranked Loyola on Friday looming.

What the modest coach was less willing to talk about was how league win No. 1 also equaled No. 400 in Appels’ career, a milestone he gave far more credit to the school and his players than to any of his individual efforts.

“We needed this win for league and to show that we could play. We had a couple of close chances earlier and came up short,” Appels said. “The 400 thing is nice. The school has been very loyal to me and I take special pride in that all 400 wins are at St. Francis.

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“I’ve coached a lot of special and brilliant players throughout the years who deserve as much credit as anyone for our success.”

Appels’ squad appeared ready to celebrate as senior halfback Griffin O’Brien chipped in a five-yard goal past Crespi goalie Casey Keenan (six saves) in the 67th minute off a deep throw-in from senior striker Frankie Veiga, which put St. Francis (4-5-2, 1-1-1 in league) ahead, 2-0.

“The throw-in has been huge for us this year, it’s basically like a corner kick,” Veiga said. “They had some huge guys in there, so when I threw it in the ball bounced around and we got a great score.”

While the goal proved the match-winner, it also was a wake-up call for the Celts (7-6-1, 1-2), who missed on quite a few good looks early in the second half.

Overall, Crespi outshot St. Francis, 16-12, and finally broke through in the 73rd minute when senior captain Sebastian Morales scored from 12 yards on an attack that started on the wings by sophomore midfielder Trevor Tubbs.

The goal was the lone blemish against St. Francis sophomore goalie Mark Garcia, who was otherwise stout and finished with 10 saves.

“We’ve faced guys like Sebastian with good speed and good moves and they’re tough,” Garcia said. “We had a defensive breakdown on the left side on that goal, but other than that, I think we did great.

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