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Prep boys soccer: ’Cats bounced in round 1

Weather-aided goal leads to West Ranch’s demise

Posted: February 19, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 19, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Santa Maria’s Raymundo Diaz, second from left, kicks the ball as he is surrounded by West Ranch’s Cody Klop (3), Eric Stevens (6) and Angel Villegas on Friday at West Ranch High during their CIF-SS Div. III playoff game.

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Scoring goals hasn't been a problem for West Ranch boys soccer all season.

On a rainy, windy day, the Foothill League champions failed to score at all, despite several chances in the second half.

The Wildcats were eliminated in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division III playoffs, losing 1-0 to Santa Maria Friday at West Ranch High School.

It was also the first time West Ranch finished a game without a goal since its season-opening 0-0 draw with Los Angeles Baptist on Nov. 30.

"I feel like we'd get all the way to that last four yards out and we just couldn't get that last little punch in," said West Ranch head coach Mo Burgess.

Santa Maria opted to move in favor of the wind in the first half, but didn't get a lot of looks at the goal for most of the first 40 minutes.

In the 37th minute, a strong defensive effort by the Wildcats (10-4-6) was tainted by a wind-assisted goal for the Saints.

As West Ranch defender Connor Ashlock tried to clear the ball from deep inside the attacking third, Santa Maria senior Ulises Alvarez knocked the ball down and took control from 28 yards out.

He lobbed a left-footer that floated high in the air before the wind knocked it down just inside the upper right corner of the net.

The Saints (13-4-3) took the 1-0 lead to the bank.

"I think in the first half everything went wrong," said West Ranch senior Jacob Jordan. "They had the wind and they just got a lucky goal. That's it."

With the rain still pouring down, West Ranch quickly went to work with the wind at its back, setting up several crosses and attempting through balls to the forwards.

But Santa Maria committed extra players on defense and was able to sit on the lead.

"Their style is long and big up on top," said Santa Maria head coach Alvaro Garcia. "So we tried to counter that by playing short and playing on the ground and we just fought. We fought."

In the 72nd minute, Wildcats midfielder Chris Tumasone received a cross just above the 6-yard box, but his kick was stopped by a diving Enrique Olea.

A few minutes after that, Tumasone had another open look from the right side, but it trickled just beyond the left post.

"We were trying to pass, but it's really wet out there and it just kept skipping by and it's not what we're used to," Jordan said.

It was a disappointing finish for West Ranch, which celebrated its first league title in program history last week.

"It ended too soon. It ended too early," Burgess said. "But it's a great season. The boys put a lot of work in. They got a league championship under their belt. They didn't want to end it early, but it's just kind of a funky day."



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