This first round CIF Central Section Division 1 playoff game started 40 minutes late Tuesday night. When it finally did start, it did not take Santa Maria long to warm up.
Gilberto Gomez scored in the third minute, three of the Saints’ first five shots went in and Santa Maria rolled to a 6-0 win over Bakersfield Ridgeview at Santa Maria’s Ralph Baldiviez Stadium.
Last year, an underdog Ridgeview took out the second-seeded Saints in the quarterfinals. This time the No. 2 Saints had no trouble getting past the No. 15 Wolf Pack.
“We knew they were the team that took us out last year,” said Santa Maria goalkeeper Osvaldo Andrade. “That made me want this one a little bit more.”
The Saints (15-3-1) will face No. 10 Bakersfield Golden Valley at 6 p.m. Thursday in the quarterfinals, barring a time change. Ridgeview finished 10-9-2.
The start Tuesday night was delayed because the officials were late arriving because, Santa Maria athletic director Brian Wallace said, of a scheduling mix-up concerning the assigning of officials to the various games Tuesday.
“It happens,” he said.
Ridgeview actually took the first shot, but it was a line drive right at Andrade.
After that, the Wolf Pack’a defenders simply couldn’t stay with the Saints attack when they worked the ball down the sideline.
Santa Maria led 4-0 at halftime, with Gomez, Edgar Garcia, Javier Real and Gilberto Mora all scoring before the break.
Clemente Tapia scored about midway through the second half then Mora scored again with about a minute left.
“We emphasize working the flanks,” Santa Maria coach Eduardo Cuna said.
“We worked the flanks, got the back into the middle and our attackers up top were efficient, man.”
The Wolf Pack put on some decent pressure in the first half, but Santa Maria defenders Erick Cardenas and Alejandro Lavarriega covered most every deep foray the Wolf Pack made in the first half.
Andrade had to make just one tough stop in the first half, a diving save near the end.
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Ridgeview took one shot on goal in the second half. Santa Maria’s defenders spent a lot of time simply booting the ball back to Andrade who cleared it away.
“It’s really all about possession,” said Andrade. “We emphasize that even in the back, working the ball toward the top.”
Golden Valley advanced with a 2-1 win over No. 10 Visalia Golden West.
Pioneer Valley 63, Nipomo 56
Mercedes Arredondo dropped in 26 points as the Panthers (4-8 Ocean League beat the Titans (6-6 Ocean League) at Pioneer Valley on the Panthers’ Senior Night.
The game was the season finale for both teams. Ravynn Anielski scored 15 points for the Panthers.
The Titans have usually struggled when they have been without standout freshman guard Makennah Simonson. It was unknown at press time whether or not Simonson played in this one.
Orcutt Academy 58, Santa Maria 34
Mariah Lopez scored 21 points and the Spartans (22-4, 10-0) put the wrap on a perfect Ocean League campaign.
Erynn Lopez scored 13 points and snared 15 rebounds for the Spartans. Vanessa Salazar and Giselle Calderon scored 10 points each.
Pioneer Valley 49, Templeton 34
Ebba Tefera and Christian Morin scored 12 points each and the Panthers (7-17, 6-6 Ocean League) got the .500 league finish coach Ross Rivera had said the Panthers would need to have a chance to get into the playoffs.
Pioneer Valley had one win before league play started.
Nipomo 67, Atascadero 43
The Titans (10-2) clinched a share of the Ocean League title by winning their regular season finale. Daren Sosa scored 22 points on four 3-pointers for Nipomo.