Liberty Tank and Ally Gardner both grabbed goals for the Santa Barbara High girls soccer team as the Dons cruised to a 2-0 victory over Dos Pueblos on Tuesday in the Channel League opener at Scott O’Leary Stadium.
While Santa Barbara dominated possession throughout the game, the team wasn’t able to find a breakthrough until the 35th minute. Off of the first corner kick of the game from Isabella Garafolo, Tank was able to head the ball past Dos Pueblos keeper Elena Andrews to give the Dons the lead.
Santa Barbara doubled its advantage in the 52nd minute. Forward Ally Gardner received a pass from Kasia Wolf, deftly shifted the ball onto her left foot near the top of the box and unleashed a perfectly placed shot into the bottom left corner of the net.
“Our front three were very aggressive [tonight],” said first-year Santa Barbara coach Willie Sims.
The scoreline could have been far more lopsided if not for the heroics of Andrews in goal. During the second half, the Dons utilized their speedy attackers to get in behind the DP defense on multiple occasions and created 1-on-1 opportunities with the keeper.
“I think the girls started recognizing that they were playing a high line and that there was space behind,” Sims said.
But Andrews continually came up big for the Chargers. In perhaps her most impressive save of the night, she acrobatically tipped out a volley attempt in the 72nd minute.
In total, Andrews made eight saves on the night.
“She kept us in the game,” said Dos Pueblos coach Seth Asuncion. “Without her it could have been a lot worse.”
The Dos Pueblos’ attack was unable to find any space behind Santa Barbara’s back line. When the Chargers lost the ball, the Dons defenders remained composed and played the ball out from the back.
“We didn’t play out of the back as much last year, but we’ve been working on it this year,” said Sims. “Everything we’re doing in practice is starting to show.”
Asuncion said the loss should help unify his team.
“I think it was a bonding experience for the girls on the team, to show them that they need to work harder,” he said.