The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Strong second half leads SBCC men’s soccer in first round

City College forward Celso Lagunas (No.34) works to keep control of the ball late in the game against Fernando Ramirez, San Bernardino Valley College Wolverine midfielder (No. 8), Saturday, Nov. 18 at La Playa Stadium. The Vaqueros won the first round of the SoCal Regional Playoffs in the Western State Conference.

The City College men’s soccer team defeated San Bernardino Valley 2-0 Saturday evening at La Playa Stadium in a game that saw the team get several good opportunities.

The opportunities were hard to come by in the first half, but several chances opened up in the second half when stamina began playing a factor in the first playoff game of the season.

“It was a slow start,” said Vaquero forward Matthew Wilkinson (No 9). “We haven’t played in 10 days so it was hard to come back and be as fast as we normally are.”

The Vaqueros were matched up against the Wolverines in the first round of the playoffs in the Southern California Regionals. The Vaqueros are the third seed and the Wolverines were seeded 14.

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A great chance in minute 52 set the tone for the rest of the second half.

Freshman Andrew Wakamiya (No. 4) raced down the field and launched a well-placed cross right to Victor Chavez (No. 18) in front of the goal. He leapt through the air but couldn’t get his foot on the ball and flew into the net as the Wolverine goalkeeper Christopher Gomez  (No. 1) secured the ball.

“We are so much fitter than other teams so when the second half comes we create a lot more chances,” said Wilkinson. “Normally Victor finishes all of them. Another day he would have scored three or four goals.”

Wilkinson attempted an aerial goal on a corner kick in minute 58. He chested the ball into the body of the goalie on a play that had the crowd screaming for a goal. Minutes later, they got one in minute 63.

Chavez attempted a wild reverse shot with the back of his foot that ricocheted back into play and to the feet of Wilkinson. Wilkinson headered the ball midair and was rewarded with a goal that soared over Gomez and erupted the home crowd, giving the Vaqueros a 1-0 lead.

In minute 79, Carlos Espinoza (No. 7) dribbled through a crowd of defenders and hit teammate Adrian Gamez (No. 28) wide open in front of the net. Gamez took a few dribbles and scored to give the Vaqueros a 2-0 lead with not much time remaining for the Wolverines to mount a comeback.

“That was a great goal for Adrian,” said freshman Celso Lagunas (No. 34). “We were able to put the game away after that.”

The Vaqueros outshot San Bernardino 16-7. Wilkinson scored his seventh goal of the season, tied for second most on the team. For Gamez, it was his third goal on the season.

The next game for City College is against rival Oxnard in round two of Regionals. It will begin at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 21.

“We will be good against them,” said a confident Wilkinson. “We are going to come back stronger on Tuesday for sure.”

City College is 16-0-4 and remains undefeated after a regular season with no losses. Oxnard is 14-7-1.

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