After making some history, Santa Maria's boys soccer team will try to advance in the Southern California Division II Regional Playoffs.

Santa Maria had never won a regional boys soccer playoff game before. That changed when the seventh-seeded Saints won 7-2 at second-seeded Visalia Golden West Tuesday.

The Saints went out against Canoga Park in the first round of the regional last year. 

This year, the Saints (23-3-3) have moved on to the regional semis. They will play at No. 6 Los Angeles Fremont (28-5-1) at 4 p.m. Thursday.

"I don't really know anything about Fremont," Santa Maria assistant coach Horacio Vieyra Jr. said in a phone interview Wednesday night. "I just know they're a higher seed than we are.

"I've been concentrating on helping get us ready." Eduardo Cuna is Santa Maria's head coach. ranks Fremont 41st in the state. Santa Maria is rated 75th. Golden West was ranked 54th.

Fremont has never given up more than three goals in a game. The Pathfinders have scored as many as eight.

The Saints won the Los Padres League championship before going out in the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section divisional playoffs for the second straight year.

The Pathfinders, who compete in the CIF Los Angeles Section, took the Coliseum League title. Golden West, which is a member of the Central Section, shared the West Yosemite League championship with Visalia El Diamante.

Jorge Carmona has led Santa Maria's scoring most of the year. However, the Saints' scoring has been more balanced lately.

"We don't count on any one guy," said Vieyra. "In our formation, with the way we share the ball, anyone can score. We expect everybody (to be capable of scoring)." 

Ivan Estrada, Andres Montano, Saul Ayuso, Brayant Aquino and Carmona all scored against Golden West.

The Saints' defense, which Marino Corona helps anchor, has been solid all year. Corona had an assist Tuesday.

"Marino plays center mid for us, and Diego Villagran, along with the Tena twins, Miguel and Samuel, help anchor the back," said Vieyra.

"Jose Hernandez has been solid at goalkeeper for us, and he has helped with the defense, calling out instructions."

Vieyra said, "He's made some big plays."

If the Saints win Thursday, they will play in the regional final Saturday.

Top-ranked Santa Ana Godinez was the only higher seed that won in the first round Tuesday.  


Sports Reporter