Dons shut down San Marcos comeback

The Santa Barbara girls soccer team had the last laugh against San Marcos on Tuesday, netting a 3-2 victory at Peabody Stadium on a late Sarah Leads penalty kick after the Royals had come back to tie in the second half.

“We had a tough preseason, and I think the Ventura win -although it was very ugly – got us off the mark in winning games,” said Dons head coach Bryan Lloyd, whose team is 2-1 in the Channel League after a winless preseason (2-5-1 overall).

“It’s definitely huge to be going into DP with a shot at somewhere in the top half of the league.”

San Marcos is now 4-8-2 overall, 1-2 in league.

Kelsie Cage scored twice for the Dons in the first half, but the Royals equalized in the second half behind goals from Jenny Ann Martinez and Lizzy Willet.

“I think that we realized that we really needed to get back in this game, and that we really had to get focused and find each other’s feet,” explained San Marcos captain Ali Raack, who thought her team played pretty well considering the two-goal comeback.

Plus, there’s always next time.

“We hate to lose against them, but we’re ready for them to come to our house,” Raack said. “It’s been like this the last few years, they’ve beaten us in their house and we’ve beaten them in ours so we’ll be ready for them.”

The rematch at San Marcos is scheduled for Feb. 5.

Briana Lopez, who also assisted on the second of Cage’s first-half goals, created the PK for the Dons. Her run down the right side forced the Royals to make a play to stop her or she was going to take it straight to goal. The slide-tackle got part ball, part Lopez, and the referee blew the whistle and signaled the free shot.

Leads went upper-right net with her shot, recording her team-high sixth goal of the season.

“I was pretty confident in her, she’s usually very good under pressure,” said an honest Sheridan Spivey, who was uncertain about getting a win after the Royals tied it up. “Pretty nervous, scared. I was afraid that we were gonna lose concentration and lose possession of the ball which would in turn make us freak out a little bit.”

Both the Royals and Dons have Channel League contests on Thursday. San Marcos moves on to face Ventura while Santa Barbara hosts another crosstown rival in Dos Pueblos. Both games begin at 5 p.m.

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