Lassen High School's boys' soccer team results
After struggling through a 1-3 preseason, the Grizzlies dumped Oroville 3-2 at home Tuesday, Dec. 12 and Las Plumas 3-0 on the road two days later. Speaking for head coach Matti Ripatti, who is rumored to retire at the end of season, Dan Bruce said the team still has some kinks to work out.
"Our passing game hasn't come together yet. We're beating teams with our fitness and wearing them down," said Bruce, who is a second-year junior varsity coach. "We've got some work to do if we want to defense our title. But Oroville looked a lot stronger than they did last year. It's going to be another tough game when we meet them next year."
Four-time Northern Section champions, the Grizzlies punched in three second-half goals to down the Tigers. Kevin Lyman, Dillon Moore and Scott Gill scored with two assists going to Daniel Nareau.
"Our play wasn't too impressive in the first half until we started pressing," Bruce said. "It was our defense that got us this win."
Bruce said the team is working on a "new" focus without the likes of Mike Dwinell, who accepted a scholarship at Azusa Pacific.
"Mike was the hub of our attack last year. We depended a lot on him," Bruce said.
Lassen got off to a slow start against Las Plumas, but again, netted three second-half goals to walk away with the victory. Scores came courtesy of Jouni Kinnunen, a foreign-exchange student from Finland, Brandon Vinson and Mike Keating.
"Las Plumas appeared to be playing for a tie. Our defense was too fast for them and they couldn't get through for any decent scoring chances," Bruce said. "We didn't pass very well in this game either. It's our conditioning that is paying off."
Lassen traveled to Colusa Monday, Dec. 18, but results were not available at press time.
WSL play resumes at home Thursday, Jan. 4 against Corning.
What is to be expected from the Grizzlies this season?
"It's hard to tell, but we're optimistic," Bruce said. "We don't have the team like we did last year. Like in past years, everyone will be gunning for us. We've got good speed and it's going to be tough for teams to score on us, but we've got to put together our passing game. It's a glaring weakness for us.
"Not to keep talking about (Dwinell), but he was our go-to guy. Dillon will have to fill that role this year for us."
Lassen girls' head coach Steve Datema could not be reached at press time. The girls are also n search of their fourth fifth straight league championship.