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Falcons look for postseason return

Falcons junior Omar Akbar strikes the ball during a loss to St. Augustine High School on Nov. 28. (photo by Jim Wick)

Falcons look for postseason return

By Hector Trujillo

After finishing the 2022-23 season with a record by going 8-7-2 before losing to Oceanside in the first round of the CIF-SDS Division II playoffs, the Scripps Ranch High School (SRHS) mens varsity soccer team hopes to close out strong with 12 games left in the regular season this time.

The Falcons got their first draw of the season with a dramatic 1-1 tie at home versus Olympian on Dec. 1, which was a nice bounce back effort after losing 4-0 to St. Augustine in the opener on Nov. 28.

“The team has a little bit better chemistry than last season, but it’s hard to tell at this time of year,” said head coach Hans Witzell.

Senior goalkeeper Greyson Philips is one of the players who has returned and is providing stability alongside his talented defensive backline.

Attacking midfielder Chris Moynihan continues to be a force to be reckoned with on the offensive side of the ball along with junior striker Ian Bae. 

“We’re always looking to make the playoffs,” Witzell said. “We made the playoffs last year and are going to try and win Eastern League.”

In order to win the league, the Falcons will need to dethrone Crawford High School, which they split two games against last season. Scripps Ranch will face Crawford at home on Jan. 24 and then again in the regular season finale on Feb. 9.

“It’s always hard to tell with high school soccer from one year to the next,” Witzell said. “Over the last couple of years, it’s been Hoover who has kind of been our rival, but our league is pretty even.”

Hoover High School and Scripps Ranch will face each other on Jan. 19 and Jan. 27, with the second meeting being at SRHS. The Falcons will also play twice versus San Diego High School, once on Jan. 10 and again on Jan. 26; as well as two matches against Kearny High School, which is playing its first season in Eastern League, once on Jan. 12 and then on Jan. 31. The next game for the Falcons is on the road versus Chula Vista High School on Dec. 16 followed by a game against University City High on Dec. 22 before returning home to take on Poway High School on Jan. 5.