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Life without Julian Araujo at Lompoc High prompted the Braves to rely on defense more in their season opener against the defending PAC 8 League champs.

The philosophy limited any easy scoring opportunities for San Luis Obispo, but the Tigers still escaped Huyck Stadium with the 2-1 road win on Tuesday night.

Araujo was considered the most dexterous with the soccer ball on the offensive end – as he was known in the Central Coast region for his speed and ability to attack the net. Araujo, however, has since moved on by pursuing a career with FC Barcelona.

Yet, Braves head coach Marco Vargas was pleased with the defensive energy by the home team.

“We have low numbers. We have guys who are injured or ineligible – so we lack a little bit of offense. But defensively, we’ve got a solid backline. We knew right off the bat that the only way they can score was off of the air,” Vargas said after the game. “The first score was from the air. In the second half, we told them just pick it up a little bit more because we need some shots on goal.”

Lompoc (0-1) started to become more proficient at penetrating the SLO defense and getting in front of the net. But the Braves only mustered one goal on the evening as Aldo Anguinano scored for Lompoc. Vargas said that in Araujo’s absence, he’ll be banking on one key contributor on offense to lift the Braves.

“We have a forward, Alex Gonzalez, who is hurt,” Vargas said. “He’s grown throughout the summer so we’ll look to get him going offensively.”

On the defensive end, Michael Reyes and J.D Montelongo were among two crucial contributors there. Goal keeper Ricardo Garay had some active hands on a chilly night – as he saved three goals in the second half. Overall, Vargas was pleased to see the new blueprint on defense keep the Braves in the game despite the loss.

“During our preseason, we’ve been working defensively. We haven’t even touched offense, really,” Vargas said. “This year, I have James Baca on the staff. We’ve done more defensive schemes this year and defensively, we were a little bit more fundamentally sound. We let up a lot of easy goals last year so our big focus was defense this year. With the high pressure defense we plan to play, it’ll create a lot of goals for us.”

The opener was a battle between two playoff teams from last year. Lompoc was 11-13 one year ago and lost 2-0 to Culver City in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 4 playoffs.

Lompoc travels to St. Joseph on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

Pioneer Valley 2, Nipomo 0

The Panthers scored a win in their first game of the season at Nipomo.

Edgar Zacarias scored the Panthers' first goal at the five minute mark with a strike from about 35 yards out.

"It was very impressive," said coach Alan Brafman.

In the 58th minute, Oscar Ramirez scored off a cross by Jesse Morales.

"Oscar was in the right place at the right time," Brafman said of the goal.

The Panthers next play Templeton at home at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.

George Mendez, playing in the first half, and Osvaldo Andrade, taking over in the second half, combined for the clean sheet. 

Brafman noted the defensive play of Angel Gonzalez and David Mora, as well, helping the Panthers shut out the Titans.

Orcutt Academy 1, Paso Robles 1

The Spartans drew with a solid PAC 8 team at Rice Ranch Tuesday night.

Daniel Acosta scored 22 minutes in with an assist from freshman Hayden Mateiu.

Tyler Zafiris kept the Spartans in the game with solid play in the net, making four saves.

Orcutt Academy plays Thursday at Atascadero.

Girls soccer

San Luis Obispo 3, Lompoc 1

The Tigers swept the Braves on the soccer field to kick off the season, as the Lompoc girls took the loss on the road.

Like the boys team, girls soccer head coach Jason Cochrane says his team has been hit with the injury bug early on in the season.

“I thought our girls played well, considering it being our first match and we have a few players we’re still rehabbing from injury,” Cochrane said.

San Luis Obispo – 20-2-1 last season – scored two goals in the first half, one of them off of a communication error by Lompoc, Cochrane said.

Returning sophomore Ayziah Simmons kicked the lone goal for the Braves, which saw Kaitlynn Vigil in on the assist.

Lompoc returns home to take on St. Joseph on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

Guadalupe Youth Basketball program registration today

Sign-ups for the Guadalupe Youth Basketball program are set to be held Wednesday at Mary Buren Elementary in Guadalupe.

The registration will be held on stage  from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The fee of $35 will provide a uniform, shirt, trophy and insurance. There is a $5 discount per sibling registered.

For more information call Joe Harris at 868-6309 or Aliena Sarellano at 714-5989.


Sports Reporter