Senior middie Nolan Roles scored the game-tying goal with 10 seconds left in regulation Friday, then delivered the game-winner in the extra period, lifting No. 19 El Segundo (5-3) past visiting Santa Monica 9-8.
The Eagles, in only their second season of CIF play and first in the Ocean League, are now 3-0 and tied for first place in that league with No. 18 Culver City, which won the league title last season. The teams will meet for the first time April 15 at El Segundo and will face each other again May 1 at Culver City.
The way things are shaping up, those two head-to-head matchups likely will decide the Ocean League champion and playoff participant.
Whether or not the Eagles become that team, though, it’s a remarkable story for a second-year program. El Segundo went 5-6 as an independent last season, losing twice to Santa Monica (once in overtime) and once each to Downey and Beverly Hills. This year, they are 3-0 against those schools, and two of their losses have come against No. 12 Redondo Union of the Bay League.
Moreover, El Segundo has held things together while battling injuries, with third-string goalie Alex Nolan, a sophomore, starting at least three games because of injuries to the first two. The Eagles also lost senior attack John Lang to a broken arm in the season’s third game.