Playoff Preview: Palos Verdes Eyes Another L.A. Title


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9 Newbury Park (13-4) at 8 Oak Park (9-7), 7:30 p.m.

Newbury Park; Owen Consoletti, Oak Park
This is a rematch of Newbury’s first game of the season, a game Oak Park won 10-7. But the Panthers were playing their first game under new coach Grant Kaleikau, and All-American goalie Mikey Marinelli was nursing a hand injury. A lot has happened since, including the continued emergence of Newbury’s defense, which has given up double-digit goals only twice since that opening game, both to Westlake. The Panthers’ goals-allowed average of 4.06 ranks third in the entire Southern Section. They limited Thousand Oaks to six goals Friday, only one in the second half.

Oak Park has had little trouble scoring this season, with midfielders Brendan Egan and Griffin Hughes, among others, leading the offense. The Eagles average nearly 12 goals per game and have been held to fewer than 9 only twice. Stopping opponents from scoring, on the other hand, has been another story. Oak Park has struggled all season to replace four-year goalie Shane Bracken, who graduated last spring. The Eagles are allowing 10.4 goals per game thus far, and they have lost all seven times they have allowed double-digit goals.

Last year, Oak Park beat Newbury in a controversial, double-overtime game in the second round of the playoffs. Newbury would like nothing more than to stifle the Eagles’ offense and return the favor this year by eliminating Oak Park.

The winner of this game advances to meet the winner of SC/WR-Palos Verdes on Thursday.