The Malibu High School boys soccer team suffered a close 1-0 loss to the Carpenteria Warriors on Friday, Jan. 23, at home.
After diving for two first-half saves, freshman goal keeper Henry Katleman let a shot by the Warriors slip right past his fingers in the 51st minute. Carpenteria did not relinquish the lead.
“It was a very quick turn, a very quick shot from a very acute angle,” coach Julian Wright said of Carpenteria’s only goal. “Normally those are stopped, but if you don’t see them coming, it’s a great shot. Hats off to the kid for getting the shot off.”
The Sharks are now 2-2 in league, and have been dealing with some injuries so far this season.
Their star senior goalkeeper Max Watkin has been out with a torn meniscus for the entire year, and senior midfielder Toren Norris broke his ankle the day before the match against Carpenteria.
The team is making due with Katleman, and Wright said the coaches are happy with him.
“I’d be lying if I said he was ready in the beginning to play for Max,” Wright said. “But he has listened, he’s learned, he’s worked hard.”
Senior center back Jake Nokes has been impressed with his teammates who have shouldered the load of Malibu’s fallen comrades.
“We tried to put players there that still have experience, and they’ve really shown that they deserve to be on the pitch,” Nokes said.
Despite their hurt players, the Sharks have had good showings in recent games against the Nordhoff Rangers and the Santa Paula Cardinals, who were undefeated before losing to Malibu, 1-0, on Wednesday, Jan. 21.
“It’s been a tough week, but the boys have done well,” Wright said.
Wright wants the Sharks to find a silver lining as they go forward in the season, and make the best out of the injuries.
“They just need to stay positive, keep knocking the ball around, keep believing in each other,” Wright said. “It’s very easy to get down when you’ve got these types of injuries happening to key players.”
Wright said the team can still improve some of the mental aspects of its game.
“A lot of this game is mental,” Wright said. “So as long as the boys stay strong mentally, we’ll be fine. So far, they’ve done that.”
In the 27th minute on Friday, the sprinklers spontaneously turned on, stopping the game for almost 15 minutes.
When the water was shut off, the crowed cheered and clapped in approval.
“To be perfectly honest, I’d have to say it messed up Carpenteria’s rhythm,” Wright said of the surprise occurrence. “The sprinklers actually have us a chance to make some adjustments.”
The Sharks will take a road trip to Santa Barbara to take on the Bishop Diego Cardinals on Wednesday, Jan. 28.