Randy Angel

Redondo Union defense leads boys soccer team to victory

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Justin Leavitt heads the ball during Redondo’s Bay League opener against Peninsula. Leavitt scored three goals in the Sea Hawk’s 5-1 win. Photo by Ray Vidal

Justin Leavitt heads the ball during Redondo’s Bay League opener against Peninsula. Leavitt scored three goals in the Sea Hawk’s 5-1 win. Photo by Ray Vidal

Riding on the strength of its defense, Redondo’s boys soccer team began its quest for a Bay League championship Tuesday with a 5-1 win over visiting Peninsula.

After giving up only the third goal of the season, Redondo scored five goals in the second half. Justin Leavitt recorded three goals and Malcom Lorenzo-Torres added two for the Sea Hawks.

Redondo goalkeeper Griffin Thomas made four saves for Redondo (11-1-3) which will host rival Mira Costa Friday at 3 p.m.

Mira Costa (8-6-5) is fighting through injuries and lost to visiting West Torrance 4-2 in the league openers for both teams.

Trailing 4-0, the Mustangs fought back with goals by Ricky Angiolini and Isaac Lopez. Mira Costa will try to regroup and find a healthy goalkeeper before facing Redondo.

Returning starting goalkeeper Madison Gesser has been sidelined while nursing a bulging disc in his back forcing Smith to use field players and a sophomore in goal.

Justin Fairchild played goal on Tuesday before suffering in injury after making four saves. Forward Mateo Nieto took over and recorded two saves.

“I’ve had to expand the roster from 22 to 24 and in several games played with 13 healthy players,” Mira Costa head coach Gary Smith said. “We have an athletic team with good size and speed, but Redondo has been strong in non-league games. I always look at goals given up before wins and losses so Redondo will be a challenge.

“Once we have a healthy goalkeeper, we’ll be set to go,” Smith said. “Our team captains really led our team. Kai Frank has been rock solid, Ryan Zein has been strong at midfield and, even though midfielder Brandon Doyle will miss this season with a knee injury, he still goes out for coin flips, attends practices and his uplifting spirit provides encouragement for his teammates.”

Amaral considers Palos Verdes. Ranked No. 8 in Division 1, the favorite to win the Bay League this season but wouldn’t be surprised to see another team rise up in the competitive Bay League.

“If this season is anything like last year which was the strongest I’ve seen the Bay League from top to bottom, anything can happen,” Amaral said.

Redondo continues league action on Tuesday when the Sea Hawks play at West before traveling to Palos Verdes on Friday, Jan. 24. Mira Costa travels to Leuzinger on Tuesday then faces Peninsula.