BSoc: Rams fall to Santa Paula 3-1 in league opener

Cate’s boys soccer team took Santa Paula into overtime on Wednesday night, but simply ran out of steam during a 3-1 defeat in its Tri-Valley League opener.

“Santa Paula was as complete a team as we’ve seen this year and we made life tough for them for ninety minutes.” said Rams head coach Peter Mack. “In the end, we simply could not sustain the pressure and pace we needed to in order to keep them out of our net.”

The Cardinals entered the game undefeated and ranked No. 7 in Division 4. However, Cate’s aggressive midfield play had Santa Paula uncomfortable from the outset.

In the 12th minute, the Cardinals scored off a rebound to put them up 1-0 early on. The Rams narrowly missed out on a couple of prime scoring opportunities before halftime, which left them down by one goal at the intermission.

At the start of the second half, Cate’s offense came out swinging in full force. The pressure paid off in the 58th minute when Ben Jessup’s long throw found Djata Nyaawie, who capitalized on the opportunity by scoring an equalizer.

“Our guys showed a level of grit and determination that we have been waiting to see, and we were able to take Santa Paula away from what they like to do for the better part of the game,” commented Mack.

With the game knotted at 1-1, the Cardinals redoubled their efforts and created multiple scoring opportunities as the second half wore on. Despite the pressure, Rams keeper Keller Mochel came up big en route to recording 17 saves on the day.

Once overtime started, Cate was basically running on fumes and Santa Paula made them pay. The Cardinals scored twice in the extra period, once in the 85th minute and again in the 88th.

“The loss stings, but it is hard to be anything other than immensely proud of how we competed today,” added coach Mack. “We showed real discipline and I feel great about the strides we made.”

With the loss, Cate falls to 3-2-1 overall (0-1 league) this season. The Rams play host to Malibu on Friday.

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