Shutting out Burroughs 4-1 Thursday, the Santa Ynez girls soccer team sailed into the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 4 playoffs Thursday at Pirate Stadium.
“Any time you can get out of the first round against any team it’s a good thing,” said Santa Ynez head coach Rob Cantrell. “Burroughs is a tough team."
Santa Ynez forward Sarah Johnston was pivotal in the Pirates’ win, scoring two second-half goals and picking up an assist on Santa Ynez’s first goal of the contest.
“(Johnston) is a nonstop worker, she wants to score goals and she wants her team to win,” Cantrell added. “Her extra efforts going to the goal really lift our team up. That gives them confidence that we can play the ball up to somebody strong like that."
Burroughs started fast, maintaining ball control for the first 10 minutes and not allowing Santa Ynez much movement past midfield.
Then came the Pirates pushing for momentum, looking to gain the upper hand over the Indians.
“We wanted to come out strong and start a high press,” said Santa Ynez leading-scorer Julia Pritchard. “Our defense stayed strong that allowed us to be successful at the front.”
Santa Ynez’s Monica Pizano worked her way towards the net for an attempt on goal in the 18th minute. The Indians’ goalkeeper Diana Santos rolled up the ball to stop the drive.
The swing for the Pirates came in the 23rd minute when Johnston connected with a pass to midfielder Jazz Feeley for a goal right up the middle.
“When the girls figured out that possession was going to beat this team and that Burroughs wasn’t athletic enough to stop it that’s when we started pushing,” Cantrell said.
Santa Ynez took a 1-0 lead into the break.
“(Johnston) allows us to play possession up top,” Cantrell said. “She’ll run fast, she’ll run players down, she’ll dripped the ball, she’ll play one-touch, two-touch but she’ll hold the ball to allow numbers coming forward. When you have a strong kid holding the ball you feel like you can make things happen.”
Johnston kept the Santa Ynez momentum going from the start of the second half, scoring back-to-back goals in the 41st and 43rd minutes. Her first goal came on a shot from the right side to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead.
“In the (first) half I kept getting knocked down frequently by (Burroughs’) defense and that gave me the motivation to go and score,” Johnston said.
Driving in from the left side this time, Johnston drew Santos out of the goal to try and make the stop. Johnston maintained possession and created some space to pop up a shot. With Santos out of the goal, Emily McHorney attempted to make the save for Burroughs as the ball dropped into the goal.
“Right after she scored we knew we had it. We kept the ball, settled it and kept our composure,” Pritchard said.
The Pirates weren’t done yet.
Coming up out of the backfield on a breakaway run was defender Ryann Melville with her focus set on scoring and that's what she did.
Melville’s goal gave Santa Ynez a 4-0 lead going down the stretch and brought out a raucous reaction from the Pirates sideline.
“For your outside back to come in and connect with the midfield is rare but super effective. She’s done that a couple times this year,” Cantrell said about Melville’s goal. “We were jovial about it because it’s just so cool, it’s a really cool play.”
The Indians were inches away from preventing a shutout by the Pirates in the 51st minute. Burroughs’ Lauryn Bailey drilled a free kick from that right side that deflected off the crossbar and out of play.
The Pirates goalkeeper Breanna Rodrigues did her part to maintain a Santa Ynez blanking of Burroughs.
“(Rodrigues’) athleticism, her communication and her competitiveness is what makes her a solid goalkeeper for us. She’s reading the field, she’s commanding her defenders and she’s setting up attacking plays,” Cantrell said.
Bailey set up for another free kick in the 72nd minute and took aim for the top of the cage to squeeze the ball passed Rodrigues. Rodrigues got her hands up, making contact with Bailey’s shot to push the ball up over the cage.
“If we can keep that composure now and feel confident with it, getting a 4-0 win in the first round, I feel pretty good we have a path for the future rounds,” Cantrell said.
Santa Ynez moves on to the second round of the Division 4 playoffs to face Montclair on the road Tuesday.