BSoc: Cate, Carpinteria battle to 1-1 draw

Geoffrey Acheampong of Cate dribbles past Juan Pablo Alvarez.

Geoffrey Acheampong of Cate dribbles past Carpinteria’s Juan Pablo Alvarez. Both players scored for their respective teams on Friday. (Presidio Sports Photo)

 

There were two superb goals, several big saves and the energy and intensity of a playoff game. That’s how it went Friday when Carpinteria and Cate played for sole possession of first place in the Tri-Valley League boys soccer race.

The city rivals battled through 80 minutes of regulation and 10 minutes of overtime Friday and finished in a 1-1 draw before a good crowd at Cate.

The result leaves both teams at 6-1-1 going into the final two matches of the regular season. If they finish in a tie, Cate holds the tiebreaker for CIF playoff seeding, having won the first meeting at Carpinteria.

“If there is a good tie, this is a good tie,” Cate coach Peter Mack said. “The tie was actually critical for us; we didn’t need to play for the win in overtime.”

Geoffrey Acheampong gave the Rams a 1-0 lead in the 54th minute after a jaw-dropping 50-yard run up the left sideline. The UCSB-bound midfielder took a throw-in from Joel Serugo, blasted up the field, cut inside near the 18-yard box and beat Carpinteria goalkeeper Lalo Delgado with a left-footed shot inside the far post.

“We had two guys defensively, one missed the ball completely and the other guy could have given him a friendly foul and he didn’t,” Carpinteria coach Leo Quintero said. “Those kind of players you can’t give them an inch or they’ll execute like he did. A lot of credit to his willpower and his tenacity, keeping after the ball and making defenders miss. It was a really nice angled shot.”

Mack has been fortunate enough to watch Acheampong make big plays his whole career.

“Geoffrey’s been heroic for us this whole year and today you saw exactly what he does at big moments when you need something big to happen,” Mack said. “Geoffrey was playing in the middle of the field and he ended up on the left wing with a breakaway. He’s opportunistic. If he thinks he can do it, he’ll do it, and I wouldn’t bet against him.”

Cate's Djata Nyaawie defends Carpinteria's Juan Pablo Alvarez.

Cate’s Djata Nyaawie defends Carpinteria’s Juan Pablo Alvarez.

Carpinteria scored the equalizer on a well-struck 30-yard free kick by Juan Pablo Alvarez in the 65th minute. Alvarez chose to hit the ball low and his hard shot deflected off a player and beat Cate goalkeeper Keller Mochel.

“That’s something I’ve seen him do in practice on his own,” Quintero said. “With each free kick, he goes in with a certain mentality of what he’s going to do, whether it be nice and low to the ground or an arching bender. He’s creating a play, basically, and see if he gets fortunate enough to get it in the back of the net.”

Despite the goal, Mochel was outstanding between the posts for Cate. He made 10 saves and thwarted several other Carpinteria chances by picking off crosses. In the last five minutes of regulation, he stopped three shots on goal and snared a cross in the box.

“Even the goal they scored was a deflection and if it’s not deflected he’s got that one too,” Mack said of his junior goalkeeper. “He controlled the box nicely, he distributed pretty well and mostly he was just a big guy back there. They were not going to sneak anything in.”

Cate defender Paddy Thomas played a solid game in front of Mochel. On several occasions, he stepped in to defuse Carpinteria threats.

Cate goalkeeper Keller Mochel made 10 saves.

Cate goalkeeper Keller Mochel made 10 saves.

“I don’t think anyone understands how good a player Paddy Thomas is,” Mack said. “I think he’s one of the best defensive backs, certainly in our conference and, I would have to say, in all of Division 4. He’s a legitimate college-level player and he’s been doing it all year for us, very quietly. Joel Serugo is a good complement to him at the other center back.”

Carpinteria’s Delgado made a spectacular play in the first five-minute overtime, reaching high to tip a free kick from Acheampong that was headed into the upper V at the near post.

Quintero lamented about the several missed chances he’s team had in the game.

“It’s interesting the game of futbol,” he said. “You have all the right pieces, you have that ‘A’ plan coming into the game and to miss opportunities like that in these type of games, they obviously don’t return. I told the guys we’re fortunate to walk out of here with a tie.”

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