The Malibu High School boys soccer team were shut out 3-0 by the Animo Leadership Aztec Eagles on Thursday, Jan. 8.
Senior midfielder Toren Norris pointed to lapses in effort and communication as causes for the loss.
“We really didn’t have much chemistry coming out from the back to the midfield, and some people just didn’t have heart,” Norris said. “We played as a team sometimes, but never could break through.”
Malibu fell behind in the 18th minute when freshman goal keeper Henry Katleman found himself one on one with an Animo player. Katleman stepped up to cut off the angle of the shot, but was deked by the offense, which scored easily.
The Sharks had an opportunity to tie the game in the 38th minute, but the shot missed just to the left of the goal. By the end of the first half, Malibu was already down 2-0.
Katleman suggested the team had trouble stopping the attacks of the Aztec Eagles.
“They were getting through our defense,” Katleman said. “Our back line wasn’t staying too strong.”
Malibu had a better showing in the second half. In the 42nd minute, it had on opportunity at the goal via a corner kick, but the offense’s header flew over the goal post.
Soon after, the ball was kicked ahead and an Animo player ran it down, faked Katleman and tapped in the ball for a 3-0 lead.
Head coach Julian Wright didn’t think Malibu’s lack of defense at the goal was Katleman’s fault.
“There’s 10 players in front of the keeper, so if they’re getting to the keeper, obviously there’s 10 players in front that could be doing something about that,” Wright said.
Wright said the match against the Aztec Eagles will help the team move forward.
“The boys get a clear look at themselves before that, they know what kind of shape they’re in, they know what they need to work on tactically and technically,” Wright said. “It’s very good. We know exactly what we need to work on, and that’s perfect going into league.”
Wright said the lack of communication could have been because the coaches were experimenting on the field.
“We tried players in new positions, we pulled players up from JV,” Wright said. “So it’s going to be tough for players, specifically [with] communication, when they’re playing in new formations with new players.”
Norris said the loss was good for the team.
“I think it’s a lesson learned,” Norris said. “But I think that if we just come out fighting the next game, then we’ll be all good coming into league.”
The Sharks start league play on Wednesday, Jan. 14, against the Nordhoff Rangers.