Dons, San Clemente to battle for spot in tourney final

As expected, the veteran back line has played solid for the Santa Barbara High boys soccer team in the early season.

What’s surprising is the productivity of the offense. The Dons tallied eight goals in two shutout wins on Friday at the San Marcos Invitational and have now outscored their opponents 14-0 in their first four matches.

Santa Barbara started the day by blowing out Righetti 5-0 and followed with a 3-0 victory over Hueneme. The wins set up a 9 a.m. showdown with San Clemente at Peabody Stadium for first place in Group A and a spot in the 3 p.m. championship game.

Two years ago, San Clemente defeated Santa Barbara for the CIF-SS Division 1 title.

The Dons took care of business right away in their nightcap against Hueneme, scoring all of the goals in the first six minutes of play.

Matt Medina scored two in the first two minutes. His second goal was a beauty, knocking in a side volley off a cross from Alec Larson.

Pepe Barron scored the third goal, taking a pass from Jumoke Hutton and beating the goalkeeper one on one.

Santa Barbara goalkeeper Elvis Mancilla notched his third shutout.

In their early afternoon opener, the Dons scored three goals in the first half against Righetti. Medina got the scoring started in the 16th minute off a cross from Larson. Jorge Herrera finished a pass from Barron six minutes later and freshman Brandon Sanchez scored unassisted in the 39th minute.

Leo Adame was a force up front for Santa Barbara in the second half. He made it 4-0 in the 50th minute and almost scored again a few minutes later when his flick header hit the far post.

Adame assisted on the final goal, breaking in on goal to force the goalkeeper to come out and crossing the ball to Medina, who tapped it into the open net.

“He’s physical, he initiates very well, he’s very good at holding defenders off,” Santa Barbara coach Todd Heil said. “He’s that prototypical target player we like in our system.”

On the early scoring success, Heil credits a lot of it to the hustle of his players.

“We’re playing well and we’re getting some hustle goals,” he said after the Righetti win. “We’ve been talking about that since the beginning of the year, to get some goals we work hard for. We’re very good at creating and very good at possessing, but sometimes we lack that initiative in the final third. I think we’re getting that this year.”

In other tournament action, host San Marcos lost against Golden Valley of Bakersfield 2-1 and a strong Capistrano Valley team 5-0.

San Clemente posted a pair of shutout wins on Friday, blanking Hueneme 3-0 and Righetti 2-0. Capo Valley beat Santa Maria 2-1 and Golden Valley also defeated the Saints 2-1.

Golden Valley and Capo Valley square off at 10:30 at Peabody Stadium for first place in Group B and a berth in the title match.