In a stunning upset on Saturday night at Fullerton College, the #15 Santa Barbara City College Men’s Soccer team triumphed over #2 Fullerton in a thrilling match.
Head coach Alexander Zermeno expressed his pride in the team’s performance, stating, “I’m extremely proud of this group; we had a plan and executed it.”
Despite facing defensive challenges, the Vaqueros showcased resilience after losing leading scorer Charles Jay Retzer to injury in the first half, ending the initial period in a deadlock at 0-0.
Fullerton took the lead early in the second half, capitalizing on a missed clearance. The Vaqueros responded promptly, though, with a spectacular long-distance goal from Haru Ito.
Ito showed great control on the right wing, cutting back just outside the box and curling in a beautiful left-footed shot in the top bin.
Fullerton regained the lead, scoring off a long ball, but again the Vaqueros would equalize. 10 minutes later Sebastian Rodriguez’s initial penalty kick was blocked, but the ball came right back to him and he converted point blank.
The game extended into overtime, remaining tied at its conclusion. The fate of the match was then decided by penalties, with SBCC holding on in a dramatic 8-7 win.
Coach Zermeno commended goalkeeper Marco Rotundo, saying, “Marco was amazing, going into penalties we knew he was going to make a save, but 3… hats off to that young man.”
The Vaqueros emerged victorious in the penalty shootout, with Brandon Garcia de la Fuente, Ivan Virgen, Gino Contreras, Ito, Uli Sevilla and Simon Carricaburu converting penalties.
Zermeno concluded, “The stars aligned tonight. Now it’s time to prep and get back on the road to face a tough opponent in Cuyamaca.”
The Vaqueros hope to keep their season alive, traveling to Cuyamaca for a second-round playoff game on Tuesday at 2 pm.