Dons head into 2010 with sparkling 17-0 mark

Santa Barbara’s soccer team will start off the new year with a perfect record after rolling to a pair of victories en route to the championship at the Buena Tournament on Wednesday.

The Dons scored a pair of 4-0 victories over Rio Mesa and Paso Robles to claim their third tournament title of the season and improved to 17-0 going into Channel League play next week.

“The guys are definitely confident right now,” Santa Barbara coach Todd Heil said. “We returned a lot of starters and from the beginning of the season the team’s chemistry has been great.”

Heil noted that not even his 2001 team that went 27-1-4 and won the CIF title had an undefeated record going into league play.

One of the beautiful things about this Santa Barbara team is it can get goal scoring from a variety of players. Six different players tallied goals in the semifinals and final. Center back Marcos Lopez and midfielder Sanford Spivey had two goals each on the day.

Lopez got the Dons going in the final against Paso Robles, scoring in the seventh minute on a loose ball in the box after a corner kick.

“It’s nice when your center back goes up and scores a goal,” said Heil.

The score remained 1-0 at the 30-minute halftime break. The Dons broke the game open 10 minutes into the second half. George Munoz finished a small cross from Edgar Ruiz in the 35th minute and Alfredo Ibarra scored off a similar pass from Spivey four minutes later for a 3-0 lead.

“We were really getting behind their defense and getting our crosses off and finishing them quite nicely,” said Heil.

Spivey finished a corner kick from Alberto Hernandez in the 50th minute for the final goal of the game.

In the semifinals, the Dons dominated a quality Rio Mesa squad, getting goals from four different players.

“We like to share the wealth,” said Heil.

Spivey opened the scoring in the seventh minute on a well executed corner-kick play. At the back post, Justin Jimenez headed the corner kick across to Spivey, who headed it past the goalkeeper.

In the 19th minute, Luis Santana was fouled inside the 18-yard box and Christian Pardo converted the ensuing penalty kick for a 2-0 lead.

The Dons kept the pressure on the Spartans backline in the second half and scored in the 41st minute. This time Edgar Ruiz jumped on a loose ball in the box and scored the goal.

Lopez scored the fourth goal in the 56th minute, heading in a free kick from Alex Santana.

Goalkeeper Justo Alvarado recorded both shutouts.