first_imgThe Loyola High of Los Angeles boys’ soccer team is used to deep postseason runs, but as Joe MacMillan was reminded before Saturday’s Southern Section Div. I playoff opener, this year’s version of the Cubs has little playoff experience. MacMillan, a senior and one of the few returnees from lastseason’s Div. II runner-up, was told by his coach before the game that he needed to be a leader and help keep his teammates relax as they entered the foreign territory of the postseason. MacMillan followed through by scoring the only goal of the game in a 1-0 victory over visiting Westlake, advancing fourth-seeded Loyola to Wednesday’s second round. MacMillan knocked in a back-door shot in the 62ndminute on a play set up by a throw-in from Conor Maher deep in Westlake territory. “We needed one,” MacMillan said. “That’s all I was thinking. I wanted to take some stress off the team. … We definitely had some nerves out there today. We just have to remember it’s one game at a time and each player has to do his part and not try to do too much.” The Cubs were enouraged by the way they played after taking the lead. “The second part of the second half we settled in and played much better,” Loyola coach Chris Walter said. “We’re a young team. We don’t have a lot of playoff experience, so it took us a long time to get settled in.” Cubs goalkeeper Kevin Klasila was in peak form from the start, shutting down any potential Westlake threats, including a free kick from near the top of the box in the 69thminute. The shutout was the 19th of the season for Loyola (22-6-3), which has allowed just one goal in its past 11 games. The Cubs’ victory ended a late-season surge by Westlake (13-10-2) and marked the second year in a row the Warriors were eliminated by Loyola. Westlake started the season 7-9-1, but went undefeated in its final six games of the regular season to earn a playoff berth as the Marmonte League’s fourth-place representative, then advanced through the wild-card round with a win over Cabrillo of Long Beach on Wednesday. center_img Loyola, which has reached the Div. II finals the past threeyears, faces two-time defending Div. I champion Damien of La Verne in the second round. The Spartans, who advanced by edging Palmdale 2-1 in overtime, tied the Cubs 1-1 when they met early in the season. “It doesn’t matter who we face,” MacMillan said. “We control our own destiny.” [email protected] (818) 713-3607 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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