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Boys Soccer

Santa Barbara Scores 3 Quick Goals in 2nd Half to Beat San Marcos for Channel League Title

Santa Barbara High goalkeeper Ben Roach punches away a San Marcos free kick during the first half. Click to view larger
Santa Barbara High goalkeeper Ben Roach punches away a San Marcos free kick during the first half. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

The execution was exquisite on the goals by the top-ranked Santa Barbara High boys soccer team in a 4-0 victory over San Marcos that clinched the Channel Leagute title on Monday night at Warkentin Stadium.

The Dons did all of their scoring in the second half against a San Marcos team that was playing its fourth game in six days. Three of the goals came in a 12-minute span.

“I thought San Marcos had energy in the first half, and it’s one of those things you’re playing on the road, it’s senior night and you’re probably going to have to weather a storm, and San Marcos is coming in pretty confident,” Santa Barbara coach Todd Heil said. “And we knew that was going to be the deal. We knew the energy was going to be spent in the first half (because) it was their fourth game since Tuesday. That’s a lot of games.”

The Dons started their onslaught four minutes into the second half when Juan Carlos Torres turned on a ball from 28 yards and hit a right-footed blast inside the far post against San Marcos goalkeeper Bryce Tomlinson.

“Turn and hit. We’ve been working with him on that a lot,” Heil said. “The turn or the curl and hit because the goalkeeper is just not set — you’re just not ready for it. And he hit that from distance.

"That kind of got it rolling.”

Five minutes later, the Dons completed a beautiful play off a throw-in. Jackson Wright threw the ball to Torres at the near post and he flicked it to Owen Lambe for the finish on a header at the far post.

“It’s hard and it’s hard against ourselves (in practice),” Heil said of the play. “We know it’s good when it’s hard against ourselves to get that flick header and that second touch at the far post. That’s good for Owen because he’s been out sick and we weren’t sure if we were going to have him tonight.”

The third goal came off another set piece. Guillermo Mendoza met Heymar Hernandez’s corner kick at the top of penalty area and slammed it into the back of the net at the 52nd minute. 

Santa Barbara defender Patrick Curtis wins a head ball against Rosalio Manzo of San Marcos. Click to view larger
Santa Barbara defender Patrick Curtis wins a head ball against Rosalio Manzo of San Marcos.  (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

“He does that a lot in practice. It’s not a fluke,” Heil said of Mendoza's one-time screamer.

The coach was impressed by the quick succession the goals came.

“To get three in 12 minutes, you’re making a statement,” said Heil. 

“They took advantage of their chances,” San Marcos coach Daniel Torres said. “Two of those goals came on set pieces. That first goal, we let that guy turn. He’s capable of doing that and he’s been doing that against everyone.”

Gavin Guilfoyle was fouled in the box and finished the scoring with a penalty kick in the 76th minute.

“There’s a reason why they’re No. 7 in the nation (by topdrawersoccer.com) and the best team in Division 1,” Torres said of the Dons. “We held our own for 40 minutes. You take away those 10 minutes where they scored those three goals, I thought we were in the game.”

Santa Barbara, the No. 1 team in Division 1 of the CIF-SS, recorded its 13th shutout and improved to 14-0-3 and 7-0 in Channel League.

San Marcos, which had a four-game winning streak snapped, is 10-7-2 and 4-2-1 in league. The Royals have clinched second place and will go to the Division 2 playoffs.

The playoff pairings will be released Monday.

The Royals survived three close chances by the Dons and created a couple of good opportunities in the first half. In the 24th minute, Luiz Garcia crossed the ball to Levi Sheffey, who was making a center run. Sheffey headed the ball on goal but Santa Barbara goalkeeper Ben Roach reacted quickly and knocked it away.

Owen Bates took a feed from Garcia, beat a defender and fired a shot that was saved by Roach in the 28th minute. 

That was the best scoring opportunity for the fleet-footed Bates. He was hounded most of the night by Santa Barbara defender Ben Kyle, The fullback broke up several runs up the right side with some clean, big tackles.

“How about Ben Kyle, the right back, on Owen Bates,” Heil raved. “Owen Bates came in hot tonight and I thought Ben Kyle did a fantastic job against him twice now. That’s hard to do. Owen Bates is very skilled player and fast, and I thought our little junior defender did a fantastic job on the right side. You slow Owen Bates down you slow San Marcos down.”

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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