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Placer boys capture PVL soccer crown

By: Garrett Johnston / Special to the Journal
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The Placer Hillmen won the Pioneer Valley League title Thursday night at LeFebvre Stadium with a 4-1 victory over Lincoln in a winner-take-home the crown contest. They successfully defended their title from 2011 even with ten seniors graduating last year. Thursday night also marked “senior night” as the parents of Hillmen seniors walked with their sons in the procession and the mothers were given flowers. The Hillmen got off to a sizzling start as sophomore Shawn Green scored in the fourth minute to put Placer ahead 1-0. Ten minutes later the Hillmen showed some great teamwork as sophomore Conner Entz set up forward Noah Daly for a header off a corner kick and the Hillmen went up 2-0. Later in the half the Fighting Zebras and senior Josh Van Pohl showed some mettle and scored to make it 2-1, keeping the game within reach. That didn’t last for for long, however, as the Hillmen would wrap the first half with a late goal from senior Brennan Entz. This came seconds after a Placer goal was negated by an offside call. Entz’s goal sent Placer to the half with a 3-1 advantage over the Fighting Zebras. “Anytime you can score a goal in the first five minutes of the game it sets the tone,” Lincoln coach Vasa Lokteff said of Placer’s hot start. “The focus kind of got away from us there.” Down 3-1 starting the second half Lincoln, could not convert on any of its three second-half shots on goal. With five minutes left, Placer senior James Thornton put the finishing touches on the PVL win with a goal for the Hillmen that made it a 4-1 final. “I felt like this was our best game that we played all year,” Placer coach Dave Brown said. “We put it all together.” With Placer losing so many seniors from last year’s team, it was a tall task to repeat as PVL champs. However, Brown thought that this collective group was tough enough to do it. “I knew they were,” Brown said. “I believed in them all year.” “I thought we played great,” Brennan Entz said. “The whole team was working super hard to get this victory so it was good.” The Hillmen, 13-4-2 overall, finished the PVL with a record of 8-1-1 for 25 points. Lincoln was second with a 7-1-2 mark for 23 points. Placer will now await for Friday’s announcement by the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section to see if the Hillmen are in the Div. III or Div. IV playoffs. “If we’re Div. III we would probably get a first-round bye,” said Brown. “If we’re Div. IV we should get a home match.” In the JV match, Placer took a 2-1 win.