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CIF-Southern Section Division 5 boys soccer championship
At Warren High School, Downey
Marshall (22-2) vs. Baldwin Park (20-4-2), 5 p.m.
GAME PREVIEW: The only time before this week that the Marshall High School boys soccer team played in a championship game, it was a forgettable experience, as the Eagles lost 6-1 to Salesian in the 2007 CIF-Southern Section Division 5 title game.
Marshall (22-2), which knocked off top seed Corona Santiago 2-1 in the Division 5 semifinals and survived back-to-back penalty-kick shootouts in the second round and quarterfinals, hopes to erase those memories when it takes on Baldwin Park (20-4-2) in the championship tonight at Warren High School in Downey at 5 p.m.
“We’re very focused on what the goal is here,” Marshall coach Dino Barbiera said. “We’re all excited. For me as a coach, I’m kind of calm because because I trust our guys and they trust me. We knocked off the biggest team (Santiago) out there, and there’s a reason for that. Our guys trust the system and they trust me, they know it inside and out, so all we have to do now is go out and play.”
Valle Vista League champion Baldwin Park is no stranger to the championship experience. Veteran coach Ricardo Mira is leading the Braves to their third title game since 2009.
After losing to Salesian 2-1 in overtime in the 2009 championship, Baldwin Park returned two years later and won the school’s first soccer title, defeating Carpinteria 2-1 for the 2011 Division 5 crown.
“Having been there (the finals) before, you realize that getting there is not easy, it takes a lot of work and you’re proud of that,” Mira said. “But when the game starts it’s another game. You have to settle your nerves and hopefully not give up an early goal in the process. But once everything settles down, it’s like any other game, you have to take advantage of your opportunities.”