Boys varsity soccer begins league play with 2 wins

The Malibu High School boys varsity soccer team opened the league portion of its schedule with two victories, in games against Santa Clara and Oak Park. The boys defeated Santa Clara 6-2 and Oak Park 3-2.

The boys faced off against the Santa Clara Saints Wednesday last week to begin their pursuit of a league title. The Saints came into the league opener with the league title from last season and an appearance in the CIF Championships. However, the Saints lost a large number of their senior starters, leaving the opportunity for the Sharks to dethrone the defending champions.

The Sharks jumped off to an early lead, with junior Giovani Landou scoring the Sharks’ first goal off a free kick. The Sharks continued their domination during the first half of play, as junior Sam Haft scored three goals, giving the Sharks a 4-1 lead going into the break. Haft, a starter on varsity since his freshman year, will be one of the more integral parts of the team’s offensive game plan as they move forward. However, he credits team effort for success.

“I am just trying to work with the team all together,” Haft told The Malibu Times. “ It’s not just a one-man team, it’s a combination of everyone.”

In the second half of the game, the Sharks added another two goals on the Saints’ seemingly helpless defense, cementing their win. “It was an excellent way to start [league] off,” Sharks Head Coach John Johnstone said. “It was the best game that we have played as a team so far, which is surprising after a break.”

Johnstone attributed many things to the Sharks’ performance last week, but distinguished the team’s passing technique as the most impressive and effective aspect of the game. However, he also noted that there is always room for improvement, even in a victory like the one the Sharks had against the Saints.

“We got a little sloppy in the second half, and we need to be sharp for 80 minutes, because when we come up against bigger and better teams, we need to be sharp for 80,” Johnstone said.

Johnstone, who is also the head coach of the girls soccer team, is in his first year at the helm of the boys squad following the departure of former head coach Dan Metcalfe. Following his CIF Championship-winning season with the girls team last year, Johnstone is now implementing many of his strategies and coaching philosophies into this year’s boys squad.

“It’s all about team,” Johnstone said. “It’s about passing, teamwork and everybody doing their job for 80 minutes.”

This week, the Sharks face off against rivals Oaks Christian on the Jan. 12 and Santa Paula on Jan. 14.

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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