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Valhalla draws rematch with Poway in Division I final
Norsemen edge Carlsbad, 11-10, in semifinals
By Phillip Brents
LA JOLLA, Nov. 13, 2001 -- A rematch of last year’s San Diego Section Division I championship game was set up in dramatic fashion as third-seeded Valhalla defeated second-seeded Carlsbad, 11-10, on a goal with 1:13 to play by the Norsemen junior Jeff El-Haij in Tuesday’s semifinals at the La Jolla Jewish Community Center pool. Valhalla (23-8) will face top-seeded Poway (21-5) in Saturday’s championship game at 5 p.m. at the UCSD Canyonview pool.
Poway defeated fourth-seeded Torrey Pines (22-8) by a 14-10 score in Tuesday’s earlier semifinal contest.
The Norsemen, who topped Poway for last year’s Division I banner, opened an early 4-1 first-quarter lead on the Lancers before Carlsbad (25-5) put together a strong second-period rally to tie the game, 5-5, at halftime and then move ahead by three goals at one point in the third quarter. The Avocado League champion Lancers led 10-9 at the end of three periods.
Juniors Ryan Way and Clint McLaughlin paced Valhalla, this year’s Grossmont South League champions, with three goals apiece. McLaughlin tied the game, 10-10, with 3:08 to play in the final quarter before El-Haij produced the game-winner just under two minutes later.
Senior Patrick Sullivan collected four assists for the Norsemen, who received 13 blocks from junior goalie Matt Krueger.
"I was very happy with what they did," Valhalla coach Pat Higginson said. "They saw what they had to do and they did what they had to do."
Higginson credited El-Haij for a strong defensive game at the two-meter guard position, though he gave credit to his entire team for playing a drop defense in an effort to stymie Carlsbad top scorer Brad Armstrong. Both teams finished 1-for-2 on power plays while the Lancers notched one four-meter penalty shot in the game.
Three players scored two goals each for Carlsbad: Kyle Barton, Mattias Cape and Josh Moser.
Poway received three goals from three players — Steve Culp, Jeff Allan and Chris Jensen — in its win against Palomar League rival Torrey Pines. Matt Tilburg scored two goals for the Titans.
The Falcons were led offensively by Carlo Romero and John Rogers, both of whom scored three goals, and Mohamed Hassanein, who scored two goals.