Fountain Valley staged a frantic attack in the final two minutes, nearly coming away with a game-tying goal, but the Los Alamitos High defense was able to hold on for a 2-1 win in a conference game on Friday at Fountain Valley High. The Sunset Conference game does not count in the Griffins’ Surf League standings, where they are 3-0, with a slight lead over Edison at 2-1. But the Griffins improved to 11-5-2 overall as they head into the final two weeks of the regular season.
After going into halftime tied with Fountain Valley, 1-1, the Griffins got the go-ahead goal in the 55th minute when junior Carter Zimmerman got around a defender on the right side and was able to move along the end line and pressure the goalie to move towards him. He slipped a pass across the goal, through traffic, where senior Demitrious Tanks was able to tap it past a defender for a 2-1 lead.
During the first half and most of the second half, Griffins coach Donovan Martinez said he really liked how the team played, particularly on offense. He said the Griffins were sharp on attacks, connecting on passes and getting around defenses to set up cross passes and shots on goal.
“We had some really good combinations,” Martinez said.
Los Alamitos was able to create a few other scoring opportunities after regaining the 2-1 lead, including a tight breakaway, when senior Ryan Scales beat a defender to a through pass and had a step as he charged the goal from the left side. The goalkeeper raced out to cut off the angle and Scales got a shot off past the goalie, but it drifted wide.
Junior Wilson Fedre also had a solid shot on goal off an attack on which the Barons were able to get a deflection. The ball rolled back near the top of the goal box, where Fedre fired a hard shot on goal. But the goalie was able to get a hand on it and deflect it over the goal.
Fountain Valley had a couple of opportunities of its own and really ramped up the pressure in the final couple of minutes. Their pressure led to a corner kick and two long throw-ins that all hung dangerously around the goal before the Griffins were able to clear. A little too close for the comfort of Martinez, who said his team missed opportunities to clear the ball, or even connect on passes during the rush.
“We continued to knock the ball out of bounds and give them long throw ins and they have a very dangerous and effective long throw in,” Martinez said.
In the first half, the Griffins took a 1-0 lead on a shot from the left side by Jack Nishimoto. He got the ball to the left of the goal, when Tanks tipped a backfoot pass over two defenders to create an opportunity for Nishimoto.
Overall, Martinez said he likes the progress the team has made throughout the season as they fight for league title and playoff spot. He noted that since Fountain Valley is not a league opponent at this time, there can often be less of a sense of urgency when they are on the schedule in the middle of league play.
“I think we’re on a really good pace, we’re getting better every session, every training, every single game we’re getting better and better,” Martinez said.
The Griffins will host Newport Harbor tonight at 6 p.m. for senior night. Los Al plays at Corona del Mar on Friday at 5 p.m. They defeated Corona del Mar, 3-1 in their first meeting and another win would set them up to clinch the league title with a win over Edison. The Griffins host Edison on Monday at 6 p.m.