Lightning struck twice for the Dunn School boys soccer team on Friday afternoon in Los Olivos.
The lightning came off the foot of Earwigs sophomore midfielder Alpha Sowe who scored two goals to lead the Condor League champion Earwigs (11-0-1) to a 2-0 victory over Valencia’s West Ranch Wildcats (9-5-4), the No. 2 seed out of the Foothill League, in a first round matchup of the CIF Southern Section Division 5 boys’ soccer playoff tournament.
“It was a little closer than we’d like,” said Dunn coach Alex Uribe.
After a scoreless first half, Sowe stole the ball from West Ranch's Joshua Campagna near midfield and started a one-man fast break to the Wildcats’ net, finishing with a blistering shot that beat West Ranch goal keeper Liam Hope for an unassisted goal three minutes into the second half.
With about 14-minutes left in the game, Dunn’s Michael Uribe passed to Sowe in a crowd in front of the net. Sowe fielded the pass, stopped, shot and blasted his second goal.
Until Sowe broke through, it looked like West Ranch might be the team driving home with the victory.
The Wildcats pressed their attack throughout the first half.
West Ranch got off nine shots. Although two were wide, seven of them put Dunn’s freshman goal keeper Brima Kamara to the test.
West Ranch got off another seven shots on Kamara in the second half.
“They got off a lot of shots but they weren’t quality shots,” said Uribe. “Brima and our entire back line have been stepping it up the whole year. Our defense has one senior, two freshman and a sophomore playing in front of Brima, who is another freshman. They are young but they really keep their composure.”
Kamara and his defensive mates aced the test on their way to recording Dunn’s 10th shutout of the Earwigs’ 12-game season — although one of those 10 was an 0-0 tie against Condor League foe Laguna Blanca.
The Earwigs have given up just two goals the entire season, one each in 2-1 wins over Laguna Blanca and Cabrillo.
West Ranch coupled their offensive pressure with a stifling defense that limited Dunn to three first-half shots at the goal.
Two of those shots sailed wide.
The third — Dunn’s best chance of the half — ended when Hope came out of the goal to challenge Dunn’s Sowe, who took a point blank shot that went right into Hope’s body. Hope’s momentum carried him into a collision with Sowe, both players crashing to the ground in a heap.
After a minute, both were okay and back on their feet.
The teams opened the second half battling back and forth near midfield until Sowe broke through for the game’s first score.
That energized the Earwigs but the Wildcats didn’t back down.
West Ranch’s Campagna took a dead-on shot from near midfield that Kamara collared for his eighth save.
After Hope blocked a Dunn shot, Kamara made the save of the game, smothering a point-blank Wildcats shot.
Now Dunn began pressing the attack, getting off the next three shots before West Ranch’s Shea Weiner headed the ball straight into Kamara, who calmly turned away yet another West Ranch scoring opportunity.
The team’s then went up and down the field until Sowe broke through for Dunn’s insurance goal.
With just under five minutes left in the game, West Ranch’s Taylor Kozlov took a centering pass and fired it on goal. Kamara came out of the goalie’s box to make the save but after grabbing the ball, he crashed into two West Ranch players.
Kamara left the game and defenseman Uli Sevilla moved into goal.
Sevilla gave up what at first appeared to be a West Ranch goal with two-minutes left but the Wildcats were offside and the goal was waved off by the referee, preserving the shutout.
“To me, it wasn’t a tough game — we just didn’t finish,” said West Ranch coach Louis Mogrovejo. “And goals win games.”
“All of the boys stepped up today,” said Uribe. “West Ranch is a really good team. It wasn’t our best performance but everybody worked hard and we still got the win.”
Dunn is back in action again Wednesday against Santa Paula (14-2-3), the Tri-Valley League champion and overall No. 3 seed in Division 5. Santa Paula defeated Arcadia 1-0 in overtime Friday afternoon. The location will be determined by a coin flip.
In other boys soccer action Friday, Santa Maria lost 4-2 at Hueneme in the first round of the Division 2 playoffs. Quartz Hill defeated Pioneer Valley 3-1 in Division 3. Righetti lost to Hart 4-1 on the road in Division 4.