After a 13-year absence, the SBCC men’s soccer team is going back to the State Final Four.
The Vaqueros punched their ticket on Saturday night, beating Golden West 2-0 in overtime at La Playa Stadium.
Duran Stanley broke a scoreless draw in the 100th minute, putting away a deflected free kick by Jordan Tabor. Stanley then set up Rodrigo Perez for the second goal off a counterattack in the 113th minute.
This will be the first trip to the final four for the Vaqueros under coach John Sisterson.
SBCC last played in the Final Four in 1998, in Tim Vom Steeg’s final year before he took the job at UCSB.
“Tremendous team,” Sisterson said of the group. “We’ve had some tremendous team since we’ve been here, but these guys just find a way to win.”
The Vaqueros (18-1-4) will play Hartnell in the semifinals on Friday at 1 p.m. at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento. The other semifinal pits unbeaten Mt. San Antonio against CC San Francisco.
SBCC played another solid defensive game, holding the visiting Rustlers (13-6-4) to just two shots in 120 minutes.
“It feels great,” sophomore defender Roberto Santana said of earning the state final four berth. “It’s hard work since last year. We’ve been trying to make history. The boys deserve it. We’ve earned every bit of it. From the beginning of the season, we’ve grown a lot. We’re just hoping to go up north, keep this going and bring back a first-place title.”
While Golden West’s offense was stymied, it stayed in the game by playing good defense. The Rustlers kept Stanley contained and goalkeeper Christian Cucue was sharp. He made 11 saves, including a reaction save on a point-blank shot by Santana in the 21st minute and a diving stop on a 25-yard free kick by Tabor in the 70th minute.
SBCC finally beat Cucue on a free kick 10 minutes into the first 15-minute overtime. From 40 yards out, Tabor hit his set piece into the middle of the box. The ball deflected off a group of players to Stanley, who threw his body between a pair of defenders and kicked the ball past the goalkeeper.
“I knew it was going to deflect or it was going to come to me, so I was expecting it to come to me,” said Stanley, who has scored four goals in the playoffs and leads the team with 13 goals. “I never gave up on it. I was expecting the ball to drop. It wasn’t a pretty goal, but it was goal. I fought really hard for it.”
After scoring, the exuberant freshman forward ripped off his jersey and waved it over his head as he raced toward the stands to celebrate with the fans and his teammates.
“What can you say about this kid?,” Sisterson said. “His work ethic is great, he gets along with all the boys, he supports all the boys, he’s just a good kid.”
The second goal came in the 113th minute on a oounterattack. The ball was booted up field to Stanley, who went one on one with a defender on the right wing before hitting a cross on the ground to Perez, who finished at the far post.
“This is an unbelievable feeling,” said Perez, a sophomore from Dos Pueblos High. “All the hard work for the season came down to this moment.
“Golden West is a tough team. We stuck it out and you could see we were more fit in the overtime.“