Cate puts on a show in regional playoff opener

Cate brought its boys soccer showtime to Santa Barbara on Monday and treated the fans at San Marcos’ Warkentin Stadium to a crowd-pleasing performance with an 8-1 romp over Van Nuys-Fulton Prep in first-round game of the Division 3 Southern California Regional Championships.

The Rams put on a dizzying display of goal scoring in the first half, pouring in seven goals, including four in a four-minute span. Captains Josh Yaro, Avery Schwartz and Ema Boateng each scored twice and freshman Jeffrey Acheampong tallied one.

“Offensively, we are on fire right now,” Cate coach Dave Mochel said. “Our passing is crisp and our finishing is smart. We are playing the best soccer of our season right now.”

Cate's Tyler Douglas against Fulton on Monday at San Marcos High School's Warkentin Stadium.

It was the 20th win for the two-time CIF-Southern Section Division 7 champions and regional No. 1 seed (20-1-1), who will return to San Marcos on Wednesday for a semifinal game against Santa Monica Crossroads, the No. 5 seed.

Cate Athletic Director Wade Ransom said it couldn’t host regional games on its Carpinteria mesa campus because CIF requires that tournament matches must be played at a stadium with lights.

“Cate has a beautiful pitch but no lights,” Ransom said earlier in the day.

He thanked San Marcos Athletic Director Abe Jahadhmy for making arrangements to host the match.

“I think it’s a testament of how wonderful the Santa Barbara athletic community is. That in times like this, ADs can call each other and help each other out and allow to give our kids at Cate an unprecedented experience in this magical season,” said Ransom.

The Rams didn’t disappoint their regular followers and those watching them for the first time.

“It was great to have so many students, parents, alums and friends of the school there – especially on spring break,” said Mochel.  

Cate’s skill and speed were too much for Fulton, an L.A. City Section semifinalists.

Yaro gave the Rams a 1-0 lead in the seventh minute.

Fulton had a great opportunity to equalize on a counterattack but forward German Oliva hit his shot wide of the far post.

That miss opened the door for the Rams. In the 23rd minute, Yaro scored his second goal off a Acheampong corner kick and Schwartz made it 3-0 less than two minutes later. Schwartz outran a defender for the ball, cut inside and ripped a shot that slammed off the bottom of the cross bar and bounced over the goal line.

Acheampong continued the goal-scoring flurry as he broke free in the penalty area and put the ball away after some fancy footwork. He then fed a beautiful through ball to Boateng, who dribbled around the goalkeeper for the fifth goal.

Schwartz drew a penalty from the goalkeeper and scored on the resulting penalty kick to make it 6-0.

Boateng turned on the afterburners, sped past two Fulton defenders like they were running in slow motion and scored the seventh goal of the half.

Shuta Kobayshi tallied Cate’s eighth goal three minutes into the second half on a flick of a ball sent in by Matthew Firestone.

Fulton (14-5-2) avoided the shutout on a beautiful strike from Uriel Orellana.

Cate’s offense has been on fire since the start of the postseason. After Monday’s explosion, the Rams have outscored their opponents 33-6 in the playoffs.