The Falcons are the defending section champions, and are making the trip again this year after winning another Central California Athletic Alliance title. The Falcons beat the Lions of the Sacramento Metropolitan Athletic League after starting the Division VII playoffs with a win last week against Global Youth Charter of Antelope.
On Saturday they’ll face either Sacramento Country Day, first-place team from the SMAL, or Elliot Christian, second-place team from the CCAA. Location of the section’s championship games has not been announced.
Tuesday’s win came after a scoreless first half. Teams fought for possession at midfield and neither was able to get any shots on goal at first. Millennium got its chances later in the first half but saw shots go wide, or missed opportunities as the Faith Christian defenders were quick to get in position to keep the ball away from the goal.
Among the best chances for the Falcons to score came late in the half when Stephen Pina headed a shot at the goal on well-placed cross shot, only to see if deflected by the Lion defense.
Millennium goalkeeper Daniel Yanez kept busy taking in the ball when the Lions got close or attempted passes across the goal, and had to block two shots on goal at the end of the half.
The competition heated up in the second half, with Yanez making a couple more saves as the Lions kept up the pressure. The Falcons scored six minutes into the half on junior forward Danny Aguayo’s shot up the middle and into the left corner.
“I was open and Marcus Matta, he gave me an assist,” Aquayo said. “I didn’t even think twice. I just shot it.”
The Falcons scored again 26 minutes into the half when Oscar Torres took a free kick from about 40 yards out and sent the ball to David Flores, who was open in the middle and shot the ball into the left corner of the goal.
“As soon as he kicked it I ran, and as soon as it bounced off the defender I kicked it in,” Flores said.”
The Lions offense kept up the pressure on the Falcon goal, forcing Yanez to make a diving save on one shot, and a foul on the Falcons shortly afterward gave the Lions a chance to score on a penalty kick with 10 minutes left.
Yanez dove to his left and blocked that one too, which conjured up images of last year’s section championship when the Falcons won it after double overtime and a round of penalty kicks. He had to block two more before the final whistle.
“Just like when section finals ended up with PK, I was able to read the player. I saw that he was left-footed and that would be his strong side,” Yanez said. He added that he and other seniors on the team are determined to repeat last year’s success.
“This whole season we’ve been looking forward to finishing senior year on a good note, and we were able to make it again. Hopefully we’ll bring home the title again.