The Lucerne Valley Boys Soccer team accomplished something no other LVHS boys soccer team has done: The Mustangs won the first league championship in school history. Photo Courtesy Mustang Boys Soccer
Chemistry can make or break a team. The 2023-24 Lucerne Valley boys soccer has got it all: talented individual players who play selflessly together as a unit. That combination of talent and team chemistry has led the team to accomplish something never done before by a LVHS boys soccer team: win the coveted Agape League Championship.
And they did it in style. Facing the PAL Academy Bulls on January 26, the Mustangs crushed their opponent with a score of 18-0 and officially won the coveted championship.
Last season, in Coach Eduardo Espinosa’s first season at Lucerne Valley, the 2022-23 team went 4-12-2. Although that win-loss record was par for Lucerne Valley boys soccer, Coach Espinosa, Assistant Coach Jacob Capps, and the players had something very special in mind for the 2023-24 season.
“Last season helped out the chemistry in the team because there were no seniors on the squad, so I knew I had two years to work with the same group of players,” Coach Espinosa says. “This season the boys have bought into the system and the new guys came in strong, creating a strong competitive environment where everyone has to push themselves to earn every minute they play.”
Coach Capps is helping Coach Espinosa with his vision. Coach Capps grew up in Apple Valley playing soccer, baseball, and basketball but tried other sports as well. After high school, Coach Capps attended Cal State San Bernardino, receiving a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Finance. This is his second year of coaching.
“What drew me to coaching was the mentoring aspect of it all,” the Coach Capps says. “Helping teens learn how to be balanced humans in life is what makes me want to coach. The most rewarding part about coaching is seeing your athletes achieve new levels whether it's getting a new PR or learning a new play or move.”
They certainly have done that this season.
“Capps and I focus on our boys being tactically knowledgeable and disciplined because our this is that when as a team you know what you need to do and what your style of play is then that's how we will get success and even get through tough games.”
The 2023-24 Lucerne Valley boys soccer team is truly a team with all players making a difference. According to Coach Espinosa, these are the players who notable contributions to the Mustang team:
Angel Montero, senior goalkeeper: Angel Montero is the 1st Team All Agape League Team and Captain for two years. He averages 6.4 saves per game.
Angel Cortes, senior DF: Captain for two years and crucial to our seven clean sheets throughout the season.
Jacob Palmerin, junior FW: Top goalscorer in 2022-2023 season, 14G and 4A in 14GP.
Geovanni Godoy, junior MD: Current top goalscorer, 17G and 9A in 15GP.
Noah Lindner, junior MD: Top assister in Agape League with 11A, crucial part of our midfield.
Osmar Hernandez, sophomore FW: 13G and 7A in 9GP, great addition to the team. Part of Victor High School’s incredible CIF and State run last year. Despite missing half the season, he has been a crucial player to us when he was eligible to play. He leads the team in goals per game with 1.4 and assists per match, 0.8 per game.
Zacarias Gutierrez, sophomore DF: 4G and 6A, has shown lots of improvement this season, becoming a leader and a quality player throughout the league.
“Coaching the boys this season feels rewarding,” Coach Espinosa says. “The boys have been working since September and getting this success is validation to all the blood, sweat, and tears that have been poured into every single practice and every single game throughout the season.”
The soccer team’s first playoff game is on Friday, February 9 and is expected to be at home as the Mustangs are going in as the No. 1 seed.