A year removed from being 2-12-2, the St. Monica Mariners’ boys soccer team advanced to the second round of the playoffs by defeating Upland Christian 5-0 on Friday, February 20, at Airport Park. Sophomore striker Matt Partyka scored his first goal of the season early in the game, and the Mariners never looked back. By halftime, the score was 4-0 and the game was well on its way to being over.The scoring surge was a little surprising from a team that had scored more than two goals only three times in 20 games before Friday. However, they had only allowed seven goals in ten league games; in their first playoff game they showed that they could do more than just defend.Shortly after Partyka, who finished with two goals and two assists, scored his first goal, sophomore midfielder Ajay Menon scored on a beautiful kick that curved away from the goaltender and into the corner of the net. Sophomore Chris Meyer would add two more goals, with assists from junior Kenny Double and freshman Caio Carvalho.The offense took a total of 31 shots, their highest total of the season by far. But the offensive success did not cause the defense to let up. Senior Ryan Montoya took advantage of his start on defense, making the right sideline almost impenetrable for the Upland Christian attack. Senior Chris White and junior Ruben Ramirez used their size to control the middle of the field, and keeper Winston Yang stopped all seven shots he faced, recording his sixth shutout of the year.The Mariners will host the Saint Margaret Tartans on Wednesday, February 25, hoping to continue this turnaround season.
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