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Boys Soccer

Santa Barbara Takes Care of Capo Valley in 2nd Half, Advances to Soccer Semifinals

Brandon Garcia of Santa Barbara takes on a Capo Valley defender during the Dons’ 3-1 quarterfinal win. Garcia scored the third goal.
Brandon Garcia of Santa Barbara takes on a Capo Valley defender during the Dons’ 3-1 quarterfinal win. Garcia scored the third goal. (Gary Kim photo)

Santa Barbara High rebounded after giving up a game-tying penalty kick and beat Capistrano Valley, 3-1, in a CIF-SS Division 1 boys soccer quarterfinal game on Saturday at San Marcos.

The victory moves the second-seeded Dons into the semifinals on Tuesday at Loyola, a 2-0 winner over Downey.

Santa Barbara beat Loyola back in December at the South Torrance Tournament. The teams have a history of meeting in the playoffs. They last met in the 2016 Division 1 final, with Loyola winning 3-1.

Juan Carlos Torres gave Santa Barbara an early lead Saturday, scoring off a flick from Owen Lambe in the eighth minute. 

Gavin Guilfoyle heads up field for Santa Barbara during the first half of the Dons’ 3-1 win over Capo Valley. Click to view larger
Gavin Guilfoyle heads up field for Santa Barbara during the first half of the Dons’ 3-1 win over Capo Valley. (Gary Kim photo)

“I love our start,” Santa Barbara coach Todd Heil said. “I thought we started the game with a lot of energy and good soccer, too.”

The Dons (16-1-3) moved the ball quickly and had Capo Valley on the defensive.

“Scoring a goal in the first 10 minutes, that’s two games in a row we’ve done that in the playoffs,” Heil said. “That’s tough for another team to come back on when they’re on the road and they're down in the first 10 minutes.”

After being in control, the Dons gave up a penalty kick and Capo Valley converted and tied the score late in the first half.

That gave Capo Valley momentum, but Santa Barbara was able to withstand the pressure. 

“It’s a complete momentum change,” Heil said of giving up the PK. “You get up early on them and all of a sudden they get a goal and all of a sudden the confidence creeps back into Capo.

“But I thought we did a good job weathering the storm," he continued. "We did a good job getting composed. Sometimes in those situations you got to go long and be more direct and take the pressure off yourself. I thought we did that to get out of the first half.”

The Dons regrouped at halftime, and Torres put them back in the lead in the 58th minute.

Brandon Garcia put the game away with a third goal.

Santa Barbara will now hit the road for the first time in the postseason.

Heil said it’s not a problem.

“The good thing about this season for us is we’ve technically been on the road all season,” said Heil, whose team has been played its home games at SBCC and San Marcos because of the construction of the new Peabody Stadium. “Being on the road doesn’t really faze us.  We’ve done well in any environment.

“The guys are just excited right now, and I think that will carry over to Tuesday. Being on the road doesn’t faze us. I’m looking forward to it.”

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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