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CIF soccer: Wildcat gold

West Ranch scores game-winner in second extra period

Posted: February 17, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 17, 2012 1:55 a.m.

West Ranch High School’s Josh Torres (22) prepares to take a shot in front of the goal against Cabrillo High School at West Ranch on Thursday. The Wildcats won 2-1 in extra time.

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For most of the game, West Ranch boys soccer controlled the midfield and held the backline.

Finally, in the second overtime period, it all paid off when senior Connor Ashlock knocked in the golden goal for the Wildcats off a corner kick.

It secured a 2-1 victory over Cabrillo High of Lompoc in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division III playoffs on Thursday at West Ranch.

“I’m speechless,” Ashlock said of the score, which finished off a bang-bang play after a Brett Karson corner kick less than a minute into the second 10-minute, sudden death overtime.

West Ranch senior Brandon Dooley headed the corner kick toward Ashlock, whose kick took a hard deflection off the top crossbar before bouncing in.

The win marked the Wildcats’ first in the postseason since the 2008-09 season, and it came a week after another dramatic, last-minute win over Valencia in the Foothill League finale.

That win resulted in the team’s second straight league championship.

“Two games (like this) are going to give me a heart attack,” said West Ranch head coach Fred McGinn. “Two close, nail-biter games.”

At first, it wasn’t playing out like a close game when West Ranch (13-3-3) took a 1-0 lead in the opening 20 minutes off a Brandon Dooley goal.

Up until that point, the Wildcats were connecting well on passes and winning the lion’s share of the possession.

In the 20th minute, Dooley took the ball from near midfield, sliced his way through the Conquistadores’ defense all the way to the 15-yard mark, where he then launched a left-footed shot into the back of the net.

After that, the game slowed down into a lull and both teams went stagnant on offense.

“We pretty much dominated the whole game, but we weren’t getting enough opportunities in our third,” Ashlock said.
Instead, it was Cabrillo (15-9-3) pushing the ball forward and creating chances on West Ranch’s goal.

Senior Conner Schmidt tied the score in the 58th minute for the Conquistadores when he finished up a play that started with a throw-in near the Wildcats’ goal.

Cabrillo’s Kyle Townsend sent the ball toward the middle, where Schmidt tapped it into the right side.

“Once we scored the one, I though it was going to be the flood gates on them,” said Cabrillo head coach James Baca. “They play solid defense, but the way they ran it, we thought we could get in behind them.”

The tying goal turned out to have an opposite affect.

It light a fire under the Wildcats, who then recaptured momentum and increased defensive pressure.

Dooley and teammate Chris Tumasone worked the ball into the box several times and, on a few occasions, nearly ended the game in regulation.

The momentum carried into overtime.

“It’s golden goal so it makes you nervous with the fastbreaks,” McGinn said, “but the way we were playing through both overtimes, I was confident we were going to put one in.”

And now, the Wildcats are headed to round two, where they’ll face either Paramount or Eastside.


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