BOYS SOCCER PREVIEW: Local teams on different paths in search for success - Palos Verdes Peninsula News : Peninsula Newspaper - Sports

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BOYS SOCCER PREVIEW: Local teams on different paths in search for success

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Posted: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 2:01 pm

It’s a new season, but the expectations have not changed for the Palos Verdes High boys soccer team.

“Our expectations are high,” coach Derek Larkins said. “If we can find the balance between our ability to think critically with playing instinctually, we will be a handful.”

PV (4-2-1) boasts a roster of 17 seniors, led by returning All-CIF player Davis Moore and Cade Flanagan. The two combined for 27 goals and 18 assists during the 2016-17 season, a season where the Sea Kings posted an impressive 20-11-1 record.

While Larkins is aware that the offensive side takes longer to nail down as the season begins, he feels the Sea Kings style of play will help put the ball in the net.

“Initially, we tend to rely on scrappy play to generate goals,” Larkins said. “As we progress, our timing will be better, and we will move from watching our teammates make plays to being part of the play.”

Alongside Moore and Flanagan, PV returns junior Jimmy Vogel and senior defenseman Brandon Nash, Aidan Wait, Leif Krampert and Kevin Crump, as well as goalie Kyle Littman.

“We have good depth defensively, which has already been displayed with (Nash, Wait and Crump) out for the first few weeks,” Larkins said.

PV advanced to the finals against Clovis High in the Downey West Coast Showcase Dec. 7-10, but the Sea Kings’ 3-0 loss proved to be a letdown in Larkins’ eyes.

“We were not up for the challenge and clearly have work to do,” Larkins said following the Clovis match. “I take the blame for not having the guys ready for this game because mentally, we were not there. We did not put up a fight – we got outmuscled and outhustled, which was a big disappointment.”

PV will play in the annual South Torrance Holiday Classic Dec. 20-22, and opens Bay League play Jan. 9 at Inglewood.

The Sea Kings have won 20 or more games in six of the last seven seasons.

YOUTH MOVEMENT AT PENINSULA

While PV has a host of seniors, Peninsula coach Patrick Daley is in a different boat.

After graduating 15 seniors from its 2016-17 team, Peninsula is looking toward a youth movement in hopes of advancing to the postseason for the fourth consecutive year.

“We are very young this year, almost an entirely different team (from last year),” said Daley, who is in his fourth year at Peninsula. “We have freshman and sophomores fighting for starting spots.”

Peninsula will join PV at the South Torrance Holiday Classic, and Daley will look to get answers from his young team as it heads into the new year and the league schedule.

“I’m looking forward to the South High tournament to really get a sense of the teams chemistry,” Daley said. “Practices have been great and I’ve never seen a team get along so well.”

While things are clicking in practice, Daley has set up what he calls an “extremely challenging preseason,” looking to prepare the Panthers for a playoff run.

Peninsula (1-3-1) began the season with three straight losses before defeating Compton 3-1 on Dec. 7. The Panthers will also play Loyola (Dec 14), South Torrance (Dec. 18) and North Torrance (Jan. 5) before embarking on their Bay League schedule.

“The Bay League is always solid and (the league title) will come down to which team executes during the always hotly contested games,” Daley said.

The Panthers open league play at Mira Costa Jan. 9 and travel to PV Jan. 23.

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