THIS WEEK: LANCASTER, PALMDALE PREPARE FOR KEY CLASH.
The Lancaster and Palmdale high school boys' soccer teams will know a lot more about where they stand on Wednesday, when the two Golden League frontrunners collide at Lancaster High at 6 p.m. Both are 4-1-1 in conference.
``It's going to be a dogfight,'' Lancaster coach John Cox said. ``This game will determine the league championship, because the winner will be in sole possession of first place and gets to control their own destiny.''
Highland beat Lancaster 2-0 in their last meeting, but Lancaster was without key defender Nathan Martinez, a starting sweeper. Martinez's absence had a domino effect, according Cox, whose team will different look for Wednesday.
``Last time I changed up the whole lineup,'' Cox said. ``That was not a good idea.''
Cox also said playing at Lancaster should give his team the advantage.
Highland features high-scoring Rafael Garcia, while Lancaster counters with Billy Wright and Eric Sundberg. Wright missed the first six games but has 14 goals and two assists for the 12-3-3 Eagles. Sundberg has 18 goals, three in league play. Garcia scored two goals in 4-0 victory over Quartz Hill last week, giving him 20.
Cox is less focused on Highland than he is about his own team.
``The problem last time is we were overly concerned about what Highland had,'' Cox said. ``We tended to focus on Highland's talent. We just have to out there and play the way we always play and not change anything.''
Lancaster, coming off a 3-0 win over Palmdale, is counting on its defense to hold down Garcia and Co. The Eagles have yielded four goals in league.
A grip on the Golden League: Highland hosts Palmdale in the biggest wrestling match of the season on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Golden League championship is on the line, as both are 4-0.
Highland is vying for its seventh straight league title. Palmdale has come in second the last two years.
The premier matchup pits Highland's John Garfinkel (42-1) against Mike Clark, the league's other premier 160-pounder. Garfinkel is coming off Saturday's 14-9 loss to state champion Ryan Kane of Temecula at the Canyon Springs tournament in Murrietta. Garfinkel, the Daily News No. 1 wrestler (all weight classes), was sick with the flu.
``Wednesday's match will determine the league championship,'' Highland coach Mike Young said.
Highland beat Palmdale 46-24 at the Rebel Classic at Quartz Hill High in December.
Boys' basketball: Boron at Desert Christian 7:30 p.m.; Highland at Lancaster 7:30 p.m.; Palmdale at Quartz Hill 7:30 p.m.; Desert at Rosamond 7:30 p.m.; Antelope Valley at Littlerock 7:30 p.m.; Vasquez at Mojave 7:30 p.m.
Girls' basketball: Boron at Desert Christian, 6 p.m.; Desert at Rosamond, 6:30 p.m.; Lone Pine at Bethel Christian, 6:30 p.m.; Lancaster at Highland, 7:30 p.m.; Quartz Hill at Palmdale, 7:30 p.m.; Littlerock at Antelope Valley, 7:30 p.m.
Girls' soccer: Lancaster at Highland, 6 p.m.; Quartz Hill at Palmdale, 6 p.m.; Littlerock at Antelope Valley, 6 p.m.
Boys' soccer: Highland at Lancaster, 6 p.m.; Palmdale at Quartz Hill, 6 p.m.; Antelope Valley at Littlerock, 6 p.m.
Prep wrestling: Palmdale at Highland 7 p.m.; Antelope Valley at Lancaster 7 p.m.; Quartz Hill at Littlerock 7 p.m.
Girls' basketball: Littlerock at Lancaster 7:30 p.m.; Quartz Hill at Highland 7:30 p.m.; Antelope Valley at Palmdale 7:30 p.m.
Boys' soccer: L.A. Baptist at Paraclete
Girls' soccer: Frazier Mountain at Desert Christian, 4 p.m.; Littlerock at Lancaster, 6 p.m.; Highland at Quartz Hill, 6 p.m.; Antelope Valley at Palmdale, 6 p.m.
Boys' basketball: Big Pine at Bethel Christian, 6 p.m.; Littlerock at Lancaster, 7:30 p.m.; Quartz Hill at Highland, 7:30 p.m.; Palmdale at Antelope Valley, 7:30 p.m.; Boron at Trona, 7:30 p.m.; Vasquez vs. Bishop at Quartz Hill High, 7:30
Girls' basketball: Big Pine at Bethel Christian, 4:30 p.m.; Boron at Trona, 6 p.m.; Lone Pine at Desert Christian, 6:30 p.m.; Village Christian at Paraclete, 7 p.m.
Boys' soccer: Lancaster at Littlerock, 6 p.m.; Quartz Hill at Highland, 6 p.m.; Palmdale at Antelope Valley, 6 p.m.
Girls' soccer: Village Christian at Paraclete, 4 p.m.
PHOTO Lancaster High's Jessie Mortendson, left, wins his match with Quartz Hill's Pat Wood. Both teams are set to compete this week.
Gene Blevins/Special to the Daily News
BOX: CALENDAR (See text)