The race to the Los Padres League girls soccer title now has Lompoc High in the mix.
The Braves improved to 4-0 in league games after holding off city rival Cabrillo 3-1 on Friday at Huyck Stadium – in a makeup contest originally scheduled for Tuesday but was pushed to a later date due to the recent storm.
The win now sets up a huge first place showdown on Tuesday at Huyck between LPL unbeaten Lompoc and the Santa Ynez Pirates – currently 4-0 in LPL games and the defending league champions.
The final minute of the game saw a beaming Jason Cochrane on the sidelines – as he hugged his player Lissette Calderon following her last minute goal and then let out two fist pumps as the final whistle sounded.
“It feels good. It feels really good,” Cochrane said after his team stayed unbeaten in LPL games. “Playing last night and with the travel, it kind of set us up to really pace ourselves. Our subs were minimal because we had some girls with a little bit of injuries last night (in the 2-0 win over Morro Bay). So it took a lot of players to get through this and get to this point. But we’re happy with where we’re at right now.”
Both teams tried to fire up its offense early on, as Cabrillo sent Brooklyn Gregory on the offensive attack to score the first goal but missed. Lompoc’s Ayziah Simmons tried her luck on the offensive end – but her attempts either rolled to the left side of the cross bar or rolled to the right.
Then, Hannah Montelban powered in the first goal of the evening on a penalty kick that made it 1-0 in favor of the Braves.
Simmons returned in the second half in the same attack mode on offense, using her speed to try to outrun the Conquistador defenders. She placed LHS (5-2-1, 4-0 in the LPL) up 2-0 with her boot to the left side of the net at the 31:50 mark.
Cabrillo (4-8-3, 1-3 in the LPL) showed it wasn’t going to go down easily, though. Captain Tianna Wright took advantage of LHS goalkeeper Cassandra Ceja being outside of her goalie box. Wright placed the ball inside the net to cut the Brave lead to 2-1 with less than 15 minutes to play.
But then a former CHS player lifted the Braves to victory: Calderon, who also had to overcome knee surgery to get on the soccer field. Her middle attempt sealed Lompoc’s fourth league win and ninth LPL win in the last 10 league games.
Calderon shared hugs with some of her former CHS teammates and got emotional after the game.
“It feels great knowing I put the effort in,” Calderon said, who said her knee still felt unstable but managed to play through the pain. “I was about to cry (after getting that goal).”
Despite the loss and the 1-3 start in LPL play, CHS head coach Derrick Wong took the high road – knowing that the scoreboard isn’t a reflection of how his team has been playing, especially with injuries mounting up as CHS played without Natalia Tulloch, who was nursing an eye injury.
“Today, we played everybody and everyone got to contribute. I told them I’m proud of the effort,” Wong said. “I thought we won the second half even though the scoreboard doesn’t reflect that. We came in looking for our heart and I think we found our heart tonight.”
The Conqs will take on Templeton at home in a 3 p.m. contest.
St. Joseph 2, Righetti 1
Head coach Al Garcia and the Knights can finally breathe a sigh of relief, as St. Joseph got in the PAC 8 win column for the first time this season by holding off Righetti.
Blanca Diaz tied things up at 1-1 with her goal in the second half. Corby Burress then nailed the game winner with under two minutes left.
"The girls played their butts off," Garcia said by phone. "They (RHS) were beating us to the ball. It was an emotional game and sometimes you lose focus in rivalry games. But in the second half, we refocused and played our game."
Lompoc 2, Cabrillo 0
The Braves boys soccer team improved to 4-0 in league games with their road shutout of CHS on Friday afternoon.
Alex Gonzalez and Jovanny Limas both scored for LHS, as it improved to 7-4-2 overall.
The victory also sets up an undefeated LPL showdown with Santa Ynez (3-0-1 in LPL games) on the road on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.