The first-ever Channel League victory for the Lompoc High girls soccer program is officially in the books.
Led by Ayziah Simmons on the offensive end and strong net play by Brenna Contreras, the Braves blanked the visiting Santa Barbara Dons 2-0 on a cloudy and brisk Tuesday night at Huyck Stadium.
Before the game, the Braves entered their home surface having surrendered the second fewest goals among Channel League teams at 14. Plus, LHS led all league teams in goals scored with 31.
A gutsy decision by the goal keeper Contreras awarded the Braves their fourth shutout of the season.
With 78 minutes in the game (the 38th minute of the second half), Contreras saw space between the ball and an oncoming Dons player. Rather than sit inside the box and await the ball flying in her direction, Contreras made the choice to rush toward the ball…ending in a crucial save and getting her head coach Jason Cochrane to jump up in glee.
Cochrane himself called the save a pivotal one for the Braves.
“They say (in soccer) that there’s no harder lead to protect than 2-0. Then 2-1 is even harder. To see her come out, take the initiative and finish the play was great to see,” Cochrane said.
From the beginning, LHS went straight into an attack mode on offense with the junior Simmons navigating the charge.
Simmons would out-sprint the Dons toward the net and went on to fire three attempted goals. She nailed her first goal with less than five minutes into the first half.
Cochrane stressed the importance of starting fast right away due to what he called was a physical style the Dons like to play.
“Santa Barbara plays a physical style match, so we explained to the girls that if you hold the ball too long, we’re going to struggle. But Ayziah took advantage of it right away. She got two goals.”
Simmons’ second goal arrived early in the second half from the right side of the goalie box.
The win not only rewarded the Braves with a 1-1-1 record in the C.L., but improved their record to 5-3-1 overall. Cochrane concludes he admires how the Braves have played through the first nine games of the season.
“To be where we are at right now, we couldn’t be more pleased,” Cochrane said. “We feel like we’re hitting a good run of play right now. We’ve solidified our backline, we’re getting real good midfield play and our keeper made some fantastic plays. Then Ayziah did what Ayziah does. When we’re clicking on everything like this, we’re a real competitive team.”
And next up for the Braves – city rival and new Channel League opponent Cabrillo. Cochrane is already anticipating a fierce match despite the threat of rain on Thursday.
“It’s Cabrillo. No matter who is where in the standings, we know that team is going to give us a rivalry match. We know nothing is going to be easy,” Cochrane said. “It’s going to be a physical match. We know we have to put our best foot forward. We’re excited about it. We hope the rain cooperates and doesn’t saturate the field too much. We look forward to the match up.”
Cabrillo 2, San Marcos 0
While the Braves enjoyed their first-ever C.L. victory, CHS celebrated its first league win at Vandenberg Village on Tuesday afternoon.
Rhea Stone-Valdez and Naomi Wiley scored both goals for the Conquistadores, who are now 1-2 in league play and 7-10-2 overall.
Atascadero 3, St. Joseph 2
The Knights lost in heartbreaking fashion on Tuesday night, losing a 2-1 lead and ultimately falling to Atascadero in a Mountain League contest.
Karina Plata scored both goals for St. Joseph (8-9 overall, 0-5 in the M.L). Corby Burress had both assists.
Santa Barbara 2, Lompoc 0
The Braves dropped to 4-10-1 overall and 0-4 in the Channel League after being shutout by host Santa Barbara.
No LHS stats were available.
Pioneer Valley 1, Righetti 0 (overtime)
The Panthers won off of a header attempt by Edson Guerrero, lifting PVHS to 8-3-3 overall and 1-1 in the Mountain League.
Josue Chavez was credited for the assist. Goal keeper Jorge Mendez finished with three saves from one-on-one scenarios.
Valley Christian Academy 46, Maricopa 6
The Lions’ Grace Cose finished with a double-double – 17 points and 12 rebounds – and VCA rolled to a 4-1 start in the Coast Valley League, plus ended a two-game losing streak.
Mayley DeBernardi finished with 10 points, seven assists and seven steals while Heather Knutson added seven points for the now 8-4 Lions.
Cabrillo 42, San Marcos 13
The Conquistadores earned their first Channel League win by knocking off the Royals by 28 in Vandenberg Village.
Morgan McIntyre led CHS with 12 points. Kiki Dial added nine points. Riley Perry included seven points for the Conqs, who are now 5-11 overall and 1-2 in league games.
Valley Christian Academy 52, Maricopa 19
The Lions evened their Coast Valley League record at 2-2 with the rout of Maricopa on Tuesday.
Jamin Magness led with 14 points. Andrew Sparlin had seven points with six rebounds. Jared Moore finished with eight points.
Santa Barbara 94, Lompoc 58
The Braves fell on the road against traditional Channel League powerhouse the Dons.
Benecio Cayabyab had 14 points. Kalub Ramirez added 13 for the Braves.