Lighthouse returned to its winning ways Tuesday with a 4-0 shutout of Pilgrim School.
There is something romantic, something poetic about slugging it out in a losing battle — if you don’t succumb to cynicism. Parents cheer on their players, who bravely mount a futile fight. Coaches teach the sport to beginners. You are playing competitive league, learning about teamwork, effort and excellence. It’s a game, so even if you lose, it’s better than doing homework. The odds are just overwhelmingly against you.
It is a poetry that Lighthouse Christian Academy, with historically low enrollments, knows well — on the football field, on the volleyball court and on the soccer field.
But on Tuesday, the romance of being the underdog didn’t belong Lighthouse. It belonged to Pilgrim, which staged an epic fight and skirmished rousingly but ultimately buckled before bigger guns.
The Saints saw themselves, for once, in the dominant role.
With the fleet-footed Turkish star, junior Erhan Meric, and with the big basketball star sophomore Justin Berry in goal swatting down shots like flies, with soccer machine junior Alex Cervantes and with danger-creating freshman Hosea Ashcraft serving up through-balls likes pancakes, LCA’s 2017 iteration is actually a menacing squad.
The Santa Monica Christian school’s team was powerful enough to compete against last year’s league champions, Newbury Park. On Jan. 19, they Saints shocked the big kids on the block, upending their hegemony with a quite unexpected 2-1 from tireless toiling, vision and belief.
Then with the rush of the mouse that roared, the Saints played against Einstein Academy Friday and saw their dynamism, their teamwork and their unbeaten record evaporate. It’s not far from the truth to say that Einstein crushed the overconfident Saints.
Tuesday was a chance to turnaround. Goals were scored in the first half by Meric, Ashcraft and by the Pilgrim team, which accidentally turned into the net a ball they were trying to clear. In the second half, left midfielder Brandon Montes raced on a ball to beat the keeper with a low shot to far post.
“That was a good goal,” observed a Lighthouse soccer legend, graduate Robert Ashcraft.
Lighthouse is currently 4-1 with two more games this week, Thursday and Friday.
“Playing Pilgrim was like looking in the mirror at ourselves in the past,” said LCA Coach Jack Mefford. They never gave up and seemed to be having fun. That’s really what it’s all about. It was great to see girls going at it with the boys. Their goalie, number 10 and number 12 were giving everything they had. Hopefully, they’ll have a new era of better teams if they keep this spirit.”