In race for title, Littlerock Boys' Soccer takes on Palmdale today

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January 11, 2011 -

It's been a long time since the Littlerock High boys soccer team has been in this position.

After not placing higher than fourth place in the Golden League since 2005, the Lobos are in contention for a league title.

Littlerock (10-3-2, 4-1) begins a crucial two-match stretch starting at 4:30 p.m. today at Palmdale (14-2-2, 4-0-1), ranked No. 5 in Southern Section Div. III.

But the Lobos are ready to step on the big stage.

"It's been two years in the making," said midfielder Ruben Alvarez, who, along with fellow seniors Sergio Ayon and David Ochoa, are four-year lettermen.

"It feels real good to be at the top of the league and be playing for the title. We never really had a start like this. Hopefully we can keep it going and be at the top in the end."

While Alvarez, Ayon and Ochoa provide Littlerock with senior leadership, the Lobos have received solid play from underclassmen, including sophomore Juan Carlos Perez (team-leading 11 goals and four assists) and junior defender Diego Rodriguez.

"Our team chemistry is the highest it's ever been," said Alvarez, who has five goals and team-high 14 assists.

"It's been years to try to get the team to play well together."

It will be the second time Littlerock has faced Palmdale this season. The Falcons defeated the Lobos 2-1 in the semifinals of the their own tournament Dec. 1.

Littlerock believes the outcome can be different this time around.

"We've seen them and we know how they play," Ayon said. "There is our chance to leave a mark in our senior year. We know we have to play our best against everybody. I feel we have the best team in the Antelope Valley right now."

Littlerock will then face two-time league champion Knight at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Ironically, it was last year's 2-1 victory over the Hawks in the regular-season finale that the Lobos point to as a building block for this year.

"When we beat Knight last year, it gave us the confidence for this year," Ayon said. "It showed us we can play with the top teams in the league and we carried it over to this season."

Alex Valladeras

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