Boys’ Round 1 Preview: No. 7 El Toro vs. No. 10 Mater Dei

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No. 7 El Toro Chargers (6-2, 9-7) will host No. 10 Mater Dei Monarchs (3-3, 12-6) at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday in the first round of the playoffs.  The two teams did not meet during the season.

Conference Standing:
Mater Dei: Third (Trinity League).
El Toro: Second (South Coast League).

Season Highlights for Mater Dei:
The defensive-minded Monarchs held opponents to single digits in all but four of their games, and demonstrated they know how to win the close one. Mater Dei was 5-1 in one-goal contests. Mater Dei had three wins over fellow playoff teams:  6-5 over No. 14 Santiago in 3OT on March 14, 6-3 win over No. 8 Servite on March 14, and 7-3 win over No. 16 Huntington Beach on April 27.

Season Highlights for El Toro:
The Chargers moved up from the Sea View League to the South Coast League this season and showed they belonged with a second place finish.  Their only league losses were at the hands of No. 2 San Clemente.  El Toro claimed four wins over fellow playoff contenders: 6-4 over No. 16 Huntington Beach on March 7,  11-5 over No. 13 Trabuco Hills on March 24, 9-6 over No. 12 Beckman on March 30, and 17-7 over No. 13 Trabuco Hills on April 7.

Players to Watch for Mater Dei:
Nick Sando (Midfield), Sean Waterman (Attack), Zach Torres (Attack), Michael Morsey (Defensive Midfield), and Sean Homsy (Goalie).

Players to Watch for El Toro:
Jared Vlach (Attack), Parker Matthews (Attack), Tyler Collins (anywhere but goalie), Chase Walsh (Defense), and AJ Sherer (Goalie) .

Final Take:

Mater Dei may be the most improved program in the county. The Monarchs reversed last season’s 6-12 record to 12-6 this season. This is a relatively young roster that will continue to grow.

El Toro got hit with a tough schedule mostly due to the league that they are in, having lost two to No. 2 San Clemente. However, the Chargers are strong up the middle and AJ Sherer has really broken out. They’re tough to play at home, going 6-2.

Both teams should be playoff ready, having played competitive league schedules and adding some challenging non-league opponents.  Look for a low scoring game.  The Chargers averaged just under 10 goals per game, but have a number of scoring options. The Monarchs have allowed less than seven goals per game and specialize in pulling out the close ones.