Prep Preview: King at Poly

I’m covering the Riverside King-Riverside Poly boys varsity soccer game today for The Press-Enterprise. The best part of this assignment will be that it will likely determine the Big VIII League champion.

THE LOW DOWN:
The Wolves (16-5-1 overall, 8-1-1 Big VIII) have won five of six to keep pace with Poly, to whom they last lost, 4-1, three weeks ago. Senior forwards Josue Soto and Ricardo Mendez have combined for 20 goals to carry the load, while junior Nornubari Kalabolo (7 goals) has been a revelation coming forward. The right back is a force in the air and on shots from outside 20 yards, so it’s no coincidence that for whatever this team lacks in defensive (5 goals allowed last 4 games), it makes up for in pace and attacking strength (13 goals over same stretch).

 The Bears (14-3-3 overall, 8-1-1 Big VIII) are a temperamental bunch seemingly willing to play to the level of their competition. This team is 3-0-1 against teams ranked in the most recent Inland Area Prep Soccer Top 10, but all three of their losses are to teams with losing records (Perris, Jurupa Valley, Corona Santiago). Senior GK Tony Huerta and senior MF Edward Garcia wear the captain’s armbands for Coach Alex Figueroa, but he gets contributions from up and down his lineup.

STARTING XIs:
Riverside King
 — GK: Randy Nguyen, Soph.; D: Andres Valencia, Jr.; Andrew Corona, Sr.; Justyn Peeples, Sr.; Nornubari Kalabolo, Jr.; MF: Cobi Hopkins, Jr.; Wade Jambretz, Sr.; Leo Gonzalez, Jr.; F: Ricardo Mendez, Sr.; Christian Buysse, Sr.; Josue Soto, Sr.

Riverside Poly — GK: Tony Huerta, Sr.; D: Jacinto Rojas, Jr.; Roger Morales, Sr.; Jorge Lopez, Jr.; Rey Gomez, Jr.; MF: Garrett Hord, Jr.; Edward Garcia, Sr.; George Goodwin, Sr.; Robert Morales, Jr.; F: Yordy Garcia, Sr.; Ulysses De la Cal, Soph.

THE DIFFERENCE:
Did I forget to mention that this is the last game these two teams will plays as members of the Big VIII League? Oops. Poly moves to the Inland Valley League next season as part of the massive re-leagueing scourge so this is the Bear’s last chance at another Big VIII League title, and a permanent place in the league’s record books. How important would third league title would be important for a program about to incur large-scale change next season?
PREDICTION: Poly 4, King 2

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