The Santa Ynez Pirates saved their best for last — the last minute of the first half.
That’s when Rozlin Kristoffersen broke through the Santa Barbara Dons’ defense to score the game’s first goal in a girls soccer match Thursday night at Santa Ynez High.
The goal turned out to be the game-winner in the Pirates’ 2-0 Channel League victory, a win that keeps Santa Ynez on top of the league standings.
Jazz Feeley blasted in an insurance goal in the 66th minute to guarantee the Pirates’ victory.
“We came out really strong in the first 15 minutes of the game playing our brand of soccer,” said Santa Ynez coach Rob Cantrell. “We have several players still working their way back from injuries and we couldn’t play them the whole way. But our subs played great and we put the pressure on Santa Barbara all night.”
The Pirates dominated the action in the first half, playing most of it on the Dons’ side of the pitch.
They got off their first shot right at the one minute mark, a shot that Santa Barbara goalkeeper Carolina Koceman smothered for the first of her six first-half saves.
In the eight minute, Koceman stopped Heather Rennie’s shot.
In the ninth, Monica Pizano’s shot hit the crossbar and bounced back into the field of play and Pizano stepped right back into the ball and rocketed a shot that Koceman corralled.
Rennie almost scored in the 17th minute but again Koceman was up to the task.
Santa Ynez also got off two more shots that were wide of the net before Santa Barbara finally got its first scoring opportunity.
And that came off a free kick by the Dons’ Lauren Garnett in the 21st minute.
Garnett kicked it hard and high from 20-yards out. Santa Ynez goalkeeper Brookelyn Fletcher zeroed in on the ball, leaping to make the save on a difficult shot.
Santa Ynez’s stifling defense held Santa Barbara to just one more shot in the first half.
The Pirates, meanwhile, got off another three — the third one doing the damage.
Santa Ynez was pressing the attack when there was a battle for the ball in front of the Santa Barbara goal.
With 30-seconds left in the half, Kristoffersen came out the scrum with the ball and sent it sailing into the net.
“Giving up that goal with 30 seconds left in the half was a tough one for our girls to take,” said Santa Barbara coach Silas Fallstich. “We just couldn’t finish off any attacks in the half. We were able to put on a lot more pressure in the second half but their goalie played great. We just couldn’t put anything pasty her. Hats off to the whole Santa Ynez team — they finished when they had their chances.”
Santa Barbara picked up its pace in the second half although their first three shots attempts all sailed wide.
The Dons’ defense also turned up the heat, holding Santa Ynez to three second-half shots including Feeley’s insurance goal.
“Santa Barbara is a good team,” said Cantrell. “But once we adjusted to their attack, we were okay."
In the 47th minute, the Dons took a shot to the corner of the net that Fletcher blocked back into the field. Santa Barbara got the rebound and with Fletcher out of position took a shot at a wide open net — it sailed wide to the left.
In the 56th minute, Santa Barbara got its best chance.
After a Destiny Boynton free kick went into a crowd in front of the Santa Ynez goal, the ball was knocked into the net.
But the goal was waved off because of an offensive foul on the Dons.
When Feeley got her chance at a free kick, she sent a looping shot over Koceman’s head from 25-yards out.
“That goal by Jazz was a backbreaker. They were running out of time and really had to scramble to try to get back in the game,” said Cantrell. “Rozlin was great – she always is. Sarah Johnston, who is one of the girls coming back from an injury, played great, and Katelyn Rennie had a great gamed, she’s the sparkplug of our team.”
The Dons didn’t quit.
Boynton had another free kick in the 71st minute that went high and straight and looked like it would go over Fletcher’s head.
But Fletcher timed it perfectly to make a leaping save that preserved her shutout.
“That was an amazing save — it was one for the books,” said Cantrell. “She’s only a freshman stepped up into her role. The rest of the team has great confidence in her.”
Fletcher had six saves in the match.
Santa Barbara’s Koceman had eight saves.
Santa Barbara (4-10-2, 1-3 Channel League) is off until next Thursday when they face Dos Pueblos at Girsh Park in Goleta.
Santa Ynez (6-7-2, 3-0-1) plays at Lompoc Tuesday.
Santa Barbara 69, Santa Ynez 47
Santa Ynez had a strong second half in the Channel League game against Santa Barbara but it wasn't enough to overcome a poor first half.
The Pirates won the second half 37-23 but it wasn't enough to climb back from a huge 46-10 first half deficit.
Merek Mercado led Santa Ynez with 14 points and Siggy Porter added 10.
Freshman Ryan Devitt got the start and added six points and five rebounds.
Santa Ynez (9-11, 0-4 Channel) next plays at Lompoc on Tuesday.