GSoc: Dons suffer first-round KO against Millikan

The first 10 minutes of each half of a soccer match often can determine the final outcome.

That’s what happened in Santa Barbara High’s first-round CIF Division 2 girls playoff match against Long Beach Millikan at Peabody Stadium. The visiting Rams scored 10 minutes into the game and three minutes after halftime and beat the Dons 3-1 on Thursday.

The loss ended a remarkable season for Santa Barbara, which went 13-5-3 and won the Channel League title after going winless the previous year.

Take away the first few minutes of each half and the Dons probably win the match.

“Five minutes at the beginning or ending of any half you got to make sure you take control of the game. That’s when most goals are scored,” said Santa Barbara coach Jeff Johnson.

The powerful right let of midfieler Alex Karloswitch was the difference maker for Millikan. She scored the first goal on a blast from 23 yards and assisted on the eventual winning goal with a booming free kick from 45 yards. The Dons’ defense scattered on the ball and an unmarked Andrea Franco guided into the net for a 2-1 lead at the 43rd minute.

“That helped us all season, with her getting a ball in a dangerous play,” Millikan coach Anna Rea said of Karloswitch’s long kicks. “That’s definitely what we feed off.”

“It was a good service in and nobody got on the first ball and people allowed their marks to run free,” said Johnson of his team’s defending on the second goal. “You got to win the first ball. It’s cliche. It’s that moment and you don’t want to let that moment cost your season.”

Katie Joseff tied the score for the Dons in the 30th minute off a Hannah Brisby corner kick. They were unable to find the back of the net again even thought they controlled most of the possession and created some good looks.

“There were a lot of other opportunities that we should have scored and where I should have scored, too,” said Joseff. She had another chance after a Brisby corner kick but her shot from the right side rolled across the goalmouth.

On the same possession, Brisby got an open ball on the left side of the box but hit her shot over the cross bar.

A couple minutes later, Brisby laced a free kick on target and the Millikan goalkeeper fumbled the ball. A Santa Barbara player couldn’t get a foot on it and the Rams were able to clear it.

The Rams clinched the victory in the 77th minute when they caught Santa Barbara pushing forward and scored on a counterattack. Karloswitch hit a through ball that Amaris Sherlock ran on to and beat goalkeeper Allie Tro.

“They were good, they were strong, they made their plays,” Johnson said of Millikan.

Millikan, the No. 3 team from the Moore League, advances to the second round with a 15-7-4 record.