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Throw-in proves difference for La Cañada High boys' soccer in loss at Monrovia

Soccer: Spartans surrender set piece goal in 1-0 Rio Hondo League defeat Wednesday.

February 05, 2014|By Andrew J. Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com

MONROVIA — A 43rd-minute goal off a set piece was all that separated the visiting La Cañada High and Monrovia boys’ soccer teams in a pivotal Rio Hondo League match Wednesday afternoon.

Unfortunately for the Spartans, they found themselves on the opposite side of the goal and the score, as the Wildcats further fueled their league championship aspirations in a 1-0 victory.

“To be honest, there really wasn’t much of a difference between us,” Spartans Coach Alex Harrison said. “Monrovia played well, but I don’t think they really outplayed us. I thought it was even in everything except the final score.”

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The Wildcats (15-3-4, 6-0-1 in league), ranked third in Division V of the CIF Southern Section, scored the match-winner when a throw-in from sophomore defender Joel Cortez bounced past a Spartans defender and was controlled by Monrovia sophomore forward Chris Wong.

The Wildcats striker held off his defender with his left hip before spinning and firing a 12-yard goal past Spartans goalie Graham Labran-Boyd (six saves) nearside for the match’s lone goal.

Wong’s goal came one minute after Cortez headed a pass off a free kick right to Labran-Boyd, who was positioned perfectly on the right post.

While the goal was relief for a restless Wildcats bench, the Spartans seemed energized after falling behind.

The Spartans (10-4-5, 3-2-2) responded with six shots over the final 37 minutes, three of which required saves from Monrovia goalie Max Medley (four saves).

La Cañada’s first shot on goal in the second half came from sophomore Lawrence Ku, who had a 30-yard direct kick denied by Medley in the 61st minute.

Thirty seconds later, senior forward Andrew Meeker also had a 25-yard shot stopped by Medley.

Perhaps the Spartans’ best look came on the final action of the match one minute into extra time.

Spartans senior halfback Armaan Zare slipped a pass to Ku about 35 yards from goal.

Ku was taken down by Monrovia’s D’Morea Alewine, which resulted in a free kick.

Ku lined up and fired a shot around Monrovia’s wall but not out of the range of Medley, who dove to his right for the stop as the match was called 10 seconds later.

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