The rain stayed away from Santa Ynez Wednesday evening.
It stopped shortly before the Santa Ynez Pirates hosted the San Luis Obispo Tigers in a non-league girls soccer match.
“This field has excellent drainage,” said Santa Ynez head coach Rob Cantrell.
While the turf surface was damp, the footing was good as the Tigers kept their record perfect (4-0) with a hard-fought 4-1 victory against a scrappy Pirates team (1-1) that is still missing two of its key players.
“We won’t get (forwards) Rozlin Kristoffersen and Sarah Johnston back until sometime in January,” said Cantrell of his two star players who continue to work their way back from injuries.
With 16 goals, Johnston was the Pirates leading scorer last year.
Both teams had the same attitude – attack, attack, attack.
They battled non-stop for possession of the ball, making scoring opportunities few and far between.
But the Tigers broke through for an early goal, taking the lead in the sixth minute when Olivia Ortiz launched a corner kick directly in front of the Pirates’ goal that Savannah Brewer headed past Pirates’ goalkeeper Brookelyn Fletcher for the game’s first score.
Back and forth they went until the 16th minute when Molly Massman sent a pass to Malia Gin in the center of the field and Gin quickly lofted a shot that was dead on from 35-yards out over the Fletcher’s head for a 2-0 lead.
And with just under two minutes left in the half, Ortiz took a pass from Emma Ruzius and rocketed a shot into the corner of the net for a 3-0 lead.
“Olivia, Molly and Franki (Phelan) set the tone for us but all 23 players contributed something today,” said San Luis Obispo coach Brittney Viboch. “We did a much better job of finishing our scoring drives today.”
“San Luis Obispo is a perennial powerhouse,” said Cantrell. “We don’t like to lose but they are an excellent team. And against them, I think our possession game today was awesome."
There weren’t many scoring chances in the second half until the Pirates’ precision passing got them an opening.
They got on the scoreboard with a textbook play in the 25th minute of the second half when Catalina Kett sent a perfect pass to a driving Lexi Hemming who caught the ball in stride and scored.
“Our goal came from the flow of play while three of their four were set pieces and we played them tough without Sarah and Rozlin. The girls played a great game. The entire lineup played well. They’re just fantastic kids who always work hard. When you play a team of this caliber – and SLO is a great team – if you take away the mistakes, it’s a different game; and remember, this was only our second game of the year.”
The Tigers put the game on ice when Isabella Rudd’s inbounds kick found a wide-open Chase Kubinski directly in front of the net and leaping high into the air, Kubinski headed the ball over Xiomara “Sisi” Mejia who came on in goal in the second half – this just after Mejia made a huge save on a point blank Tigers’ shot.
“Three of their four goals were on set pieces,” said Cantrell. “We didn’t mark well on those plays but those are things we can fix.”
“We’re a newer team with mostly young players,” said Viboch. “We’re still trying to find our identity but it was good to be able to get all 23 players into the game today.”
San Luis Obispo is home for its next match Friday against Clovis Buchanan.
Santa Ynez is back in action Saturday with two games in the Best of the West Tournament playing Mayfair in the morning and Westminster in the afternoon.