Monica Pizano and Lovisa Sigbratt teamed up on a pair of first-half goals on Tuesday night and Elizabeth Estrada had an impressive second-half showing in goal as SBCC blanked Saddleback 3-0 in the second round of the Southern Cal Regional women’s soccer playoffs.
The game was moved from SBCC to Ventura College due to the Cave Fire.
The Vaqueros, seeded No. 7, improved to 13-6-4 and advanced to the Regional finals for the fourth straight year. They’ll travel to No. 3 Santiago Canyon (13-5-5) on Saturday for a rematch of last year’s Regional final that the Hawks won 1-0 in overtime.
In 2016, the Vaqueros topped the Hawks 1-0 in the Regional finals.
Santa Barbara has finished third, second and fifth in the state the last three years.
The 15th-seeded Gauchos, the third-place team from the Orange Empire Conference, end up at 13-6-4.
Pizano, a freshman from Santa Ynez High, took a short pass from Sigbratt and scored inside the left post from 14 yards out on the right at 23:26. With 15 seconds left in the first half, Sigbratt drove a shot from the left and goalie Lehar Chawla punched it to the right with two fists.
Pizano scored the rebound from nearly the same spot that she made her first goal. Pizano has six goals and four assists on the season.
“On the first one, Lovisa passed me the ball, I spun and just saw the far post and shot it,” said Pizano. “We played well tonight. We all really wanted it and we were pumped. We played together as a team. We’re really excited to be going to the Regional final.”
Estrada made seven saves, including five in the second half when the Gauchos outshot the Vaqueros, 11-6. SBCC won the first-half shot battle, 10-4, and held a narrow 16-15 advantage for the game.
“Monica did very well and I thought they all played well,” said Vaquero coach John Sisterson. “We defended well in the second half when they threw everything and the kitchen sink at us.”
Estrada also intercepted a number of crosses in the second half. She got a break at 72:05 when Abby Hazen hit the crossbar on a 20-yard shot.
Abby McCann came on at 89:40 and scored the third goal just 20 seconds later, converting a half-volley on a corner kick from Jessica Salas.
“I don’t think we were bothered at all by having to play at Ventura,” Sisterson stated. “This was the fourth time we’ve played here this year. We started off brightly and that’s what was needed against a good team like Saddleback.”
Santiago Canyon blanked No. 6 Chaffey 1-0 on Tuesday.
“That will be a tough game, it always is,” said Sisterson’s of Saturday’s battle in Orange. “Everyone played well tonight and we had to because you’re always playing good teams in the playoffs.”