Clovis News: Sports

Buchanan High boys reach SoCal soccer final

Kurt Trecker brought the 16th-ranked boys soccer team in the nation to Clovis on Thursday afternoon.

The Rancho Bernardo coach later headed back to San Diego with a good idea which team would become the next CIF Southern California Regional Division I champion.

"Buchanan has a very strong team," Trecker said. "I think that's the team that will go win it now."

Top-seeded Buchanan will play for the regional title after edging No. 4 seed Rancho Bernardo 1-0, despite playing a man down during the final 20 minutes of a homefield semifinal after forward Nathan Toto drew a red card.

The Bears (22-2-3) will face second-seeded San Clemente (19-6-6) for the title at 6 p.m. Saturday at Warren High in Downey.

"After that red card we had to work double hard," Bears striker Josh Alvarez said.

Alvarez helped set up the game-deciding play for Buchanan, No. 17 in the ESPN Rise Fab 50 national poll, one spot behind Rancho Bernardo (18-6-1).

He got a step on a defender while making a run down the right flank and sent what looked like a cross toward the goal.

"I had a clear shot," Alvarez said. "Then the defender got in the way. Fortunately, J.P. [Medina] was right there."

Broncos' goalkeeper Jake Fenlason and a defender bumped into each other while going for the ball, and it trickled behind them, where Medina was waiting to push it into the left corner with 7 minutes remaining in the game.

"All I remember is the goalie and the defender collided and left the ball," Medina said. "All I had to do was tap it in. I just finished it."

From there, it was a game of keep-away as Buchanan relied on defenders Trevor Spurgeon, Zach Hansen and Nick Watson, with some extra defensive help from Alvarez and goalkeeper Matt Dishno to preserve the lead.

"It was hard, but our defense really stepped up," Medina said. "We owe it all to them. They have played well all year."

Buchanan will be without Toto for the final because of his ejection. Normally a defender, he had been playing up top to help compensate for the absence of forward Isaiah Trejo, who is in England trying out for a national team.

Bears coach John Spurgeon said he likely would move Medina or fellow midfielder Chris Newmark up top to replace Toto and add a new midfielder to the mix from his deep and talented 11-man bench.

"I have plenty of players who can play that role," Spurgeon said. "I think we're OK."

Buchanan is riding an 18-game unbeaten streak, and Medina sees no reason that has to end Saturday.

"We made it this far," Medina said. "We want to finish it off."