The first Santa Maria try on its possession in the 17th minute of the second half hit the right goal post.
The Lompoc defense blocked the second.
Roman Gutierrez knocked the third try into the net. Gutierrez’s third-chance goal finished the scoring, and the Saints salvaged a 2-2 tie with the Braves at Santa Maria’s Ralph Baldiviez Stadium Thursday night.
The cross-sectional game featured two teams who are typically among the top boys soccer squads in the area.
Lompoc, which plays in the CIF Southern Section, is 2-0-1. Santa Maria, which plays in the Central Section, is 1-0-1.
“I know it’s early in the season, but I have to take my hat off to (our) guys for the effort they gave in the second half,” said Santa Maria coach Eduardo Cuna.
The veteran Santa Maria coach was not nearly as happy with how his team played in the first half.
The Saints offense often looked disjointed before the break, and Alfredo Botello, with his ball-handling, helped along a Braves offense that gathered steam as the first half went along.
It's dark, the players can't see too well and practice is just getting started. But they don't care, most of them are under 10 years old, after all.
Lompoc’s Victor Mendez popped free twice, and he capitalized both times. Mendez scored in the 27th minute and again in the 29th.
“We came out a little flat,” Cuna said.
“We did not completely execute on two opportunities we had in the first half. Lompoc has two chances, and (Mendez) put them in."
The Santa Maria offense carried the attack from the outset in the second half.
The Saints got deep in the Lompoc end in the 12th minute after the break. Nathan Chavez put in a rebound shot to get his team on the board.
Santa Maria had two near misses after Gutierrez tied the game. One Saint shot hit the right post. Back-up Lompoc goalie Gio Cortez knocked away a promising-looking try on another.
All that good, hard work paid off. Nipomo's girls cross country team ran to the CIF Central Section Division 4 championship at Woodward Park Thursday, outscoring second-place Oakhurst Yosemite 60-78.
Moments after Gutierrez tied the score, a Braves left-to-right shot missed by inches in the last few minutes. Cortez came in for starter Alejandro Lopez, who suffered an injury late in the second half.
Cortez seemed to suffer an injury himself later, and field position player Alberto Mendoza Alvarez moved to goalie as the Saints were preparing a free kick, and that left the Braves a man down on the pitch.
The subsequent free kick sailed well high. Cortez came back in, putting the Braves at full strength again.
“In the second half, we created more shots,” said Cuna.
“That’s what we’re about,” said Cuna. “Controlling possession and creating shots. The more you have the ball, the less the other team has to score on you”
Santa Maria will play at Atascadero at 6 p.m. Monday. Lompoc will play at Mission Prep at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Both games are non-league ones.
The St. Joseph football team has gotten used to being counted out.
St. Joseph 3, Nipomo 0
The St. Joseph Knights evened their record at 1-1 with a shutout at home over the Nipomo Titans.
You have free articles remaining.
Freshman Zorah Coulibay had two of the Knights’ three goals, scoring in the 32nd minute off a Janelle Brickey assist and in the second half off an Avery Nelson assist.
Kaihla Lopez put the Knights’ second score into the net in the 35th minute off a Cali Griffin assist.
In goal, Brenna Sonsini made seven saves, earning her first shutout.
“What I saw today was fantastic,” said head coach Al Garcia.
Garcia is also coaching the girls’ junior varsity team and had to travel to Nipomo High for their game, a 5-1 win, before heading back to Orcutt to coach the varsity game.
The Knights are back on the field Monday at home against Mission Prep.
Pioneer Valley 2, St. Joseph 0
The Pioneer Valley Panthers (4-0) put in a strong defense effort keeping the St. Joseph Knights from getting any shots on goal during a crosstown rivalry match.
"They only got off one shot at the goal but it wasn't on goal so our goals keepers had no saves in the game," said Pioneer Valley coach Alan Brafman. "We didn't have may shots either but we got two to go in.
Christian Aparacio scored both Panther goals, with an unassisted goal in the 17th minute and a shot off a pass from Nick Tello in the 39th.
George Mendez manned the goal in the first half. Alexander Lara took over in the second.
Pioneer Valley plays two games in Visalia next Tuesday, against Golden West at 11 a.m. followed by El Diamante at 2 p.m.
The Pioneer Valley girls are also scheduled to play the same schedule on Tuesday.
Nipomo 70, Paso Robles 59
The Titans moved to 2-0 on the season with a win at Paso Robles Thursday night.
Orcutt Academy 64, Pioneer Valley 51
The Orcutt Academy Spartans wrapped up a 3-0 week with a win over the Pioneer Valley Panthers at Pioneer Valley High School.
Mariah Lopez led the Spartans with 18 points and 10 rebounds, freshman DJ Kendrick added 15 points and seven rebounds and Vanessa Salazar scored 13 points.
“Going 3-0 – it was a good week,” said assistant coach Ed Torres.
The Spartans host Santa Barbara’s Garden Street Academy Comets on Monday at Lakeview Junior High.
Girls Water Polo
Santa Ynez 12, Foothill Academy 6
The Santa Ynez Pirates (3-0) girls water polo team beat Ventura’s Foothill Tech Dragons for the second time this season, swimming to a 12-6 victory at the Ventura Aquatic Center.
The Pirates previously topped the Dragons 15-9 last Monday and followed that up with a 17-1 win over Lompoc on Tuesday. The first two games were at the Santa Ynez High pool.
In Thursday’s win, Ally Alderete scored seven goals and swan away with four steals, Taye Luke had three goals and two assists and Kylie Luke had two goals, two assists and blocked two shots in the field.
Goal Keeper Peyton Pratt blocked 10 shots, made three steals and had two assists.