A clash between the top teams in the Channel League belonged to the San Marcos High boys soccer team as the Royals capitalized on two early goals to defeat Santa Barbara 3-0 on Saturday afternoon at SBCC.
Matt Hislop scored twice in the first half and reserve Anthony Contreras added a second half goal to put the game away in the 63rd minute. San Marcos claimed sole possession of first place in the Channel League with its first victory over Santa Barbara since 2012.
“After getting beat by Santa Barbara for many years its nice to see our boys play with the passion and desire that we know is in there,” said San Marcos first-year coach Paul Mclean. “Not just that, but come out with a good result for us to.”
The San Marcos victory will undoubtedly send shock waves through the Channel League, which Santa Barbara has dominated in recent years. The Dons have not lost since Dec. 22 and shutout their previous four opponents.
San Marcos freshman Miguel Mondragon setup the first goal of the match by winning the ball near midfield and igniting a quick counter attack. A.J. Rani sent a cross into the box that trickled around towards goal and Hislop deflected a failed clearance by Santa Barbara into goal in the 13th minute.
Hislop’s first goal set the tone of the match and infused San Marcos with confidence. The Dons were unable to halt the Royals’ momentum.
“The game didn’t need to change. We’ve been down before,” said Santa Barbara coach Todd Heil. “We hit it into them and then it’s a goal and then bam, we don’t respond.”
A corner kick by Caden Vom Steeg in the 18th minute found Hislop, who was able to flick the ball into goal near post for a shocking second goal. For the second time in the match Hislop was in perfect position to capitalize on a goal-scoring chance.
“The ball was going in, I thought it was going out so I kind of just flicked it and looked behind my left shoulder and it kind of just bounced into goal,” said Hislop of his second goal.
In the second half San Marcos continued to apply pressure all over the field and in the 63rd minute a deep throw in by Connor Hess was bodied into goal by Anthony Contreras, who made a run to the near post.
With the victory San Marcos improved to 6-0 in Channel League while Santa Barbara dropped to 5-1.