BSoc: One goal is enough for the Dons in CIF playoff opener

Dons captain Jelan Hutton does his part on defense to preserve the shutout as he clears a headed ball that got past goalie Elvis Mancilla. (James Crosby photo)

Dons captain Jelan Hutton does his part on defense to preserve the shutout as he clears a headed ball that got past goalie Elvis Mancilla. (James Crosby photo)

Santa Barbara High withstood the physical play of Fountain Valley and got a first-half goal from midfielder Holden Winship to prevail 1-0 in the CIF Division 1 boys soccer playoff opener on Friday at Peabody Stadium.

?Yeah, that?s usually what you get from some of the Orange County teams,? Santa Barbara coach Todd Heil said of Fountain Valley?s physical style. ?We?ve faced Orange County teams before and it?s a different style of play, and we expected it.?

Things got testy early in the match, but Winship?s goal in the 11th minute seemed to provide a calming effect for the Dons.

The goal-scoring play was a thing of beauty. The Dons pushed the ball wide on the left to Zach Torres and he delivered a picture-perfect diagonal ball to Winship, who was making a far-post run. Winship snapped a header off the cross bar and the ball dropped behind the goal line for the score.

?It?s something we work on continuously, getting the ball wide and getting the cross in ?and it was a great cross,? Heil said. ?The goal can?t happen if the cross doesn?t happen as well as it did. Zach hit a really nice ball. Holden, on his run to the back post, .he gets up there and won it and did a great job.?

Winship gave props to Torres for the exquisite pass.

?If he can hit it in, which he usually can, I saw the opening and I thought it was going to be good,? he said.

Santa Barbara (20-4-2) frustrated the Barons by controlling most of the possession during the first half.

?I thought we did a nice job in the first half,? said Heil. ?I thought we could have done better in the second half. I think we gave them some opportunities, but give Fountain Valley credit, I don?t think they folded at all. We did a little more chasing in the second half, but in the first half we did a really good job of pacing the game.?

Santa Barbara came close to adding a second goal in the 53rd minute on one of Jumoke Jelan?s dangerous long throws. Landon Mullen got his head on the throw but the ball traveld just wide of the mark

So, it was up to Santa Barbara?s defense to hold the one-goal lead.

The Barons pushed hard to equalize and created some dangerous scrambles in front of Santa Barbara goalkeeper Elvis Mancilla. But Mancilla and the defense, led by center backs and brothers Jelan and Jumoke Hutton, were up to the task.

?Credit to the defensive line, and not just us but the entire team,? Jelan Hutton said. ?We really defended as a team because none of us wanted to get scored on and get that 1-1 tie and go into overtime.?

Said Heil: ?At this point, they?re trying to survive and they?re throwing numbers up. I told the boys: ?You?re going to have to know how to close out a game.? And that?s what we did tonight, we closed it out knowing they needed a goal to tie.?

Santa Barbara outshot Fountain Valley 16-6, but five of those shots by the Barons came in the second half.

Jelan said it took a team effort to deny Fountain Valley and post the shutout.

?Just a huge, huge, huge TEAM defensive effort,? he said. ?Just huge credit to us. Huge , huge credit to Elvis for making a fantastic save on a clutter ball in the box.?

Asked what it was like playing alongside his brother, who was filling in for injured co-captain Peter Gamboa, Jelan said, ?I don?t know the last time they had a pair of brothers playing in the center defense. It?s been a real joy playing with him.?

The Dons play Riverside Poly in the second round. The game site will be determined by a coin flip on Saturday.