A trio of Lompoc High teams got awarded an extra game as boys soccer, girls basketball and girls soccer all clinched a CIF Southern Section playoff spot over the weekend.
Here’s a closer look at the upcoming matchups for the Brave teams.
It’s the first playoff taste for Vargas
Marco Vargas didn’t have the easiest task on his hands the moment he was named the new leader of Braves boys soccer, as the first-year head coach tried to get his guys invested in his philosophies right away.
Turns out it didn’t take long for the players to get acclimated with Vargas, as Lompoc (11-11 overall, 7-7 in the Los Padres League) will enter the CIF Southern Section Division 4 playoffs against Culver City on the road Friday at 3 p.m.
“I’m very excited to be in the playoffs as a first-year coach and we’re coming off of great momentum from our last win,” Vargas said on Monday.
That victory he’s referring to is the 2-0 road win over Santa Ynez in the regular season finale last Thursday, which helped elevate the Braves to the playoffs.
Now Vargas and the Braves will look to counter the Ocean League champion Centaurs, who finished 18-6 overall and know how to score at will according to Vargas.
“They had 54 goals scored for them this season,” Vargas said. “Plus they have played well defensively. For us to advance, we need to play well defensively and have Julian Araujo and J.D. Montelongo get us going on the front line.”
Braves draw a home playoff game
It’s been seven years since there was a girls soccer home playoff game on West College Ave.
That’s also the last year Lompoc High won a first round girls soccer game.
Now, this year’s young group of Braves — predominately led by one senior in Mayah Pico and the scoring of rising freshman Ayziah Simmons — will get their crack at ending that dry spell, as LHS will host Santa Paula in the first round of the CIF SS Division 5 playoffs on Thursday at 3 p.m.
Lompoc finished 10-6-3 overall and 10-3-1 in the LPL under second-year head coach Jason Cochrane. The Braves were in a position to win a league title in the season finale against Santa Ynez, but fell 4-1 on their home field of Huyck Stadium last Thursday.
Outside of Pico and Simmons, Monica Escalante has helped lead the goal charge for LHS. Michelle Hill guards the net at her goal keeper position.
The Cardinals, under the direction of head coach Jesus Cordova, went 10-7-2 and placed second in the Tri-County Athletic League behind Grace Brethren.
Lompoc prepares for tough Division 2A slate
The Braves emerged as one of three area teams along with top seed Righetti and Los Padres League champion Cabrillo to secure a playoff seed in the CIF SS Division 2A bracket.
And the next challenge for LHS?
That would be a Thursday night home date against a Mission Prep team that looks tougher than what its current record indicates — plus a team that made a deep run in the state playoffs one year ago.
The Royals will enter Bryan Ayer Court at 11-14 overall, but went 9-5 in the always competitively driven PAC 8 league, good enough for third place behind league juggernauts Arroyo Grande and league champ Righetti.
"It's going to be a good game," LHS head coach Claudia Terrones said. "Mission Prep is a very well coached team. I hope that we can use our speed and experience to get past them."
The Royals are led by a deep senior lineup featuring Maggie Spear, Ani Bonchic, Cassandra Harvey, Jennifer Laird and Michaela Berber.
Lompoc will look to get the ball into the hands of top scorers Cheyenne Marmolejo, Danielle Morgan and low post presence Chavon Garrett.
Defensively, Marmolejo and Cyenna Garrett will be relied upon to slow down the Royals’ tempo.
The winner of the 7 p.m. Lompoc/Mission Prep contest will await the winner of Dana Hills and La Habra game that’s also scheduled for Thursday.