Soccer preseason presents hopeful beginnings

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Light dissolved from the sky into an array of colored clouds as the field lights turned on to illuminate Valhalla’s soccer field and the shivering fans huddled in the bleachers on either side. Coaches paced the sidelines in coats watching the varsity match unfold, and Valhalla and El Cajon Valley JV teams ran back and forth along the length of the field to stay warm, waiting for their game. 

Soccer season has begun. 

Light dissolved from the sky into an array of colored clouds as the field lights turned on to illuminate Valhalla’s soccer field and the shivering fans huddled in the bleachers on either side. Coaches paced the sidelines in coats watching the varsity match unfold, and Valhalla and El Cajon Valley JV teams ran back and forth along the length of the field to stay warm, waiting for their game. 

Soccer season has begun. 

The nonconference match between the Norseman and the El Cajon Valley Braves on Dec. 8 was Valhalla’s third consecutive win. They lead preseason standings for the Grossmont Hills league, 4-1.

“We’re well balanced right now,” said Norseman head coach Brad Baughan. “We’ve only given up one goal in three games, so we’re pretty happy with our defensive structure.”

That one goal came from the Braves in the first half of their match. Both offensively ambitious, the Norsemen and their guests ran into halftime with a tied scoreboard, 1-1. In the 52nd minute of the game, the Norsemen scored again to secure the win. 

El Cajon Valley head coach Antonio Lavenant said his Division V team of mostly younger players is starting to shape up for the season, as demonstrated by their control during the Valhalla match.

“We just played a D2 opponent and held our own,” he said. “That’s commendable. These guys keep learning. League should be a lot better than this.”

El Cajon Valley (3-2-1) is middle of the pack in the Grossmont Valley League, right above last year’s champ Santana (3-2-2). Helix leads, 2-0-1.

Defending Hills League champions, the Granite Hills Eagles have also found themselves in the middle of the standings, 2-2-2. 

Baughan said he is looking forward to seeing how his team fares during conference season.

“We’d like to win league and go far in CIF,” he said. “It’s a very competitive league. Everyone is strong.” 

If they keep their momentum, the Norsemen may have a good chance at a winning season, but Baughan said next year will likely be even better than this one.

“We only have six seniors but a lot of returners,” he said. “Last year was a young team, next year will be our big senior year.”

That leaves this season for the boys in Orange to start carving out their mark.  

Both leagues continue nonconference games all week.

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