Malibu boys soccer wins league title; playoffs begin this week

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Malibu’s Ethan Flor, #9, slides and scores against Fillmore in a recent game.

For the first time since 2008, the Malibu boys soccer team is a league champion. Having won five of their last six matches, the Sharks begin the CIF playoffs this week on a celebratory high.

In addition, Malibu will be represented in the postseason by the girls soccer and water polo teams and the boys basketball team.

Boys Soccer

The Sharks finished as co-champions with Santa Paula and will enter the CIF playoffs as the No. 2 seed from the Tri-Valley League. They ended the regular season with a mark of 13-4-4 overall and 7-1-2 in league.

Malibu will host St. Genevieve in the CIF Division IV playoffs on Thursday at 3 p.m.

“This means everything to them. It means a lot to the program and to the school,” Malibu coach Julian Wright said. “We are just very happy to bring a championship back to Malibu. It’s been a lot of fun. The boys have worked hard and they have bonded well. I’ve been very grateful for what has happened this year with them.”

Needing to win their final game and hope for a Santa Paula loss, the Sharks scored twice within a five-minute span in the second half to defeat Oak Park, 2-1, last week. On the same day, Carpinteria stunned league-leading Santa Paula, 1-0, on the Cardinals’ home turf. It was Carpinteria’s only win in league.

Because Malibu went 0-1-1 versus Santa Paula, the Sharks lost the head-to-head tiebreaker for the No. 1 league entry position. Regardless, they earned a share of the league championship.

“I’m so proud of my guys,” said senior Jonah Gooden. “We definitely deserve it because we have been working really hard and playing really well together.”

“It means a lot being able to leave a legacy about our team,” added his twin brother, Jake. “It’s been a while since we won a league title so it’s nice to leave our mark.”

The Sharks thrived this season under the leadership of Wright, who is in his first season at MHS. Wright won a CIF title last season as coach of Lennox Academy.

“It’s a new mentality having a new coach,” Jake Gooden said. “Coach (Wright) brought in a new view and playing style. He’s very serious and helped change the program around.”

Girls Soccer

Malibu finished the regular season 4-0-1 to claim third place in the Tri-Valley League. The Sharks will play at Flintridge Prep on Friday at 3 p.m. in the CIF Division III playoffs.

After suffering a 2-0 loss at the hands of Oaks Christian, Malibu (15-9-1 overall; 7-4-1 in league) went on a strong run allowing only one goal over the final five matches.

“The team refocused their energy on our primary goal of making CIF and knew with a strong showing they would make playoffs and finish third,” coach Jack Craig said. “The team bonding has forged great team chemistry which translated onto the field.”

Girls Water Polo

The Sharks (10-11, 6-4) saw their incredible run of seven consecutive Tri-Valley League titles come to an end this season, after suffering a difficult three-game losing streak down the home stretch of the regular season. The streak included back-to-back 5-4 defeats to rival Oaks Christian, which went on to win its first-ever league championship.

Malibu will play at La Quinta in a CIF Division VI wild card matchup.

Boys Basketball

In their second season in the difficult Tri-Valley League, the Sharks fought hard but came up on the losing end of their final three conference games. Malibu lost at Santa Clara (53-36), at Bishop Diego (61-51) and to Oak Park at home (57-45).

Junior transfer Landon McBroom led the team in scoring during the last three contests, averaging 14 ppg.

However, Malibu (8-19, 1-9) made the CIF Division IVA playoffs as an at-large and will play at St. Anthony.

Girls Basketball

Malibu came up short on a playoff bid, ending its season 8-16 overall and 2-10 in the Frontier League. However, the team saw major improvement from a season ago.

Season-ending highlights included a 34-23 victory over Grace Brethren on Senior Night.

Senior captain Agaly De Jesus led the way with 12 points, nine rebounds and three steals. Nina Hungerland scored eight points and snagged 13 rebounds.

Three days later, on Feb. 11, the Sharks lost a heartbreaker to Carpinteria, 38-34, a game in which sophomore Kendall Jordan recorded 11 points and 14 rebounds. De Jesus chipped in with eight points and six rebounds and senior Glenis Leslie added seven points and seven rebounds. The Sharks dropped their final game of the season, on Feb. 13 at Santa Paula, but look to build on this season’s improvement heading into 2014-15.