School administrators were running around under big umbrellas — some in an open and very wet golf cart — trying to get a campus full of students safely from buses, vans and cars bringing soccer players.
Water-logged referees and drenched coaches had looks in their eyes of frozen defeat, and there was’nt a dry spot for any spectators.
The rain came down early, sometimes in sheets, before a cold wind bringing frigid temperatures rolled in.
The only people who didn’t seem to mind were the players — running, slipping and sliding through the mud.
So began Day 1 of the Central Coast Classic Boys Soccer Tournament Friday at Cabrillo High School.
“If you ask the kids they will play in anything,” joked Cabrillo coach James Baca, “Until they start losing.”
Nine teams arrived early in the morning to participate in the day’s activities, which included two games each in pool play.
“The morning games were tough,” said Santa Maria coach Al Garcia. “I’m just thankful that everyone is not sick — but we’ll see how tomorrow is.”
After a full slate of games, Santa Maria, San Marcos and Nipomo will face off for the Gold Pool and overall championship today.
The Saints started slowly, falling behind Morro Bay 1-0 before winning 2-1, then defeated Crean Lutheran 9-1. San Marcos tied Cabrillo 2-2 then beat Nordhoff 3-0 while Nipomo edged Lompoc 2-1 before tying Pioneer Valley 2-2.
With the wet conditions — that eventually left the main Cabrillo varsity field a quagmire — the style of play was different for the Saints.
“It turns the game from a skill game to a game of luck,” Garcia explained. “We are a better team on a flatter surface and better field.”
In the second game, Santa Maria jumped all over Crean Lutheran, a failry new program.
“Crean is a second year program, but they started out faily decent,” Garcia said. “But then shortly after the first couple goals, the game changed.”
Santa Maria’s Nestor Alvarez scored just two minutes into the game then added another five minutes later, both on breakaways to give the Saints an early 2-0 lead.
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Ulises Alvarez scored in the 15th minute to make it 3-0, then, after Crean scored one minute later, both of the Alvarez’s scored again. Nestor Alvarez finished the first half with four goals and was done for the day, while Ulises Alvarez had two, helping Santa Maria to an 8-1 halftime lead.
“I played my entire bench, so that’s good,” Garcia said. “But we still have things to work on.
“The next two games tomorrow will definitely be tough.”
Santa Maria and San Marcos face each other at 11:20 a.m., before the Saints take on Nipomo at 1 p.m. San Marcos will then finish the tournament against Nipomo at 3:20 p.m.
The team with the most points wins the overall championship. The scoring is six points for a win, three for a tie, one point per goal up to three per game and one point for a shutout. After day one Santa Maria had 17 points, San Marcos 15 and Nipomo 13.
The host Conquistadores started the morning off with a 2-2 tie against San Marcos. Later in the afternoon they finished another tie, this one 1-1 with Nordhoff.
In game one, Sean Greathead and Jose Alcarez scored the goals for the Conquistadores. In just the sixth minute of game two, Miguel Gomez took a pass from Sean Greathead and put the Conqs up 1-0. But they were unable to get a second tally.
Cabrillo plays Morro Bay at 10 a.m. before facing Lompoc at 3 p.m. in the Silver Pool. Morro Bay lost to Santa Maria 2-1 before shutting out Crean 3-0.
Lompoc fell in the morning to Nipomo on a last second goal, before defeating Pioneer Valley 1-0. Matthew Marquez took a long pass from Alejandro Jimenez, broke in alone and scored the only goal of the game with just minutes remaining.
The result was a bit of payback for the Braves.
“They actually beat us 4-1 on their field last week,” Marquez said. “They played very well on the artificial turf because they are very fast.”
Before the Braves face the Conqs, they play Morro Bay at 12:40.
Pioneer Valley plays in the Bronze Pool and plays Nordhoff at 9:30 a.m. then Crean at 11:30 a.m.
Central Coast Tournament (Thursday)
Kate Reinhardt scored twice as the Eagles shut out Morro Bay 3-0 at Morro Bay.
Niesha Diaz scored Arroyo Grande’s second goal. Maggi Keffury and Maddi Ravalin had assists.