BSoc: Rendon’s OT header leads Dons past Redondo Union

Santa Barbara's Celso Lagunas takes a ball from the air in Friday's game.

Santa Barbara’s Celso Lagunas takes a ball from the air in Friday’s game.


A spectacular diving header in double overtime by forward Ignacio Rendon capped off a back-and-forth defensive affair to pace the Santa Barbara High boys soccer team past Redondo Union in a riveting 1-0 decision at Peabody Stadium on Friday night.

An impressive defensive performance had rendered the game scoreless up until the second overtime when a beautifully-placed corner kick by Jorge Garcia-Torres connected with a hustling Rendon who knocked it into the bottom right corner for the game-winning goal in the first round of the CIF Division 1 playoffs.

“Jorge hit a great ball in and at those moments in the game you look for someone with the will and the desire to get on the end of it and that’s exactly what (Ignacio) did,” said coach Todd Heil. “He had the desire to throw his body in front of the ball, and now we are all standing here with a win because of that effort.”

The miraculous finish was met with a thunderous roar from the crowd and a swarm of praise from Rendon’s fellow teammates as he himself sprinted down field with a hand up in celebration.

Throughout the majority of the game, the Dons dominated offensively but were unable to capitalize on numerous attempts in both halves. Santa Barbara’s particularly young defense was efficient in limiting the amount of offensive opportunities as the Sea Hawks tallied a total of only 4 shots on target compared to the Dons’ 12.

“It was definitely a team effort,” said Rendon. “The defense did their part, the midfielders did their part, and the forwards did their part and it was because we played as a team that we were able to battle throughout the entire game.”

However Santa Barbara could not have done it without the contributions of Brandon Sanchez. The speedy midfielder was phenomenal in setting up the offense and creating opportunities in the box. Worryingly Sanchez precariously limped off the field while grasping his left hamstring late in the first overtime which seemingly didn’t stop the Dons from taking the victory. Sanchez joined in on the celebration after his injury was deemed to be a simple cramp.

“We went at them hard,” said Sanchez. “Going in we didn’t know how they played and they didn’t know how we played. We just kept firing at them and testing their defense hoping for a possible rebound or corner kick and that’s exactly what we got in the end.”

Redondo Union was aggressive straight from the kickoff as the Sea Hawks were able to get into striking range early and a hand ball set them up with a free kick about 4 feet out less than a minute into the game. The ball was ripped right toward the upper left hand corner but goalkeeper Angel Cervantes dove and knocked it away with his fist. Cervantes played a fantastic game in the net coming up with a couple clutch saves  and was rewarded with a shutout win.

The gratifying victory advances Santa Barbara into the CIF Round of 16 where the 17-5-3 Dons will travel to Santa Margarita on Wednesday. The Dons have high expectations for the remainder of playoffs and are confident that their momentum will translate into the upcoming games.

Sanchez speaks optimistically of the future saying, “Our season goal was to be Channel League champions but we fell short as runner up so I think now that just fuels us to win CIF which is our new primary goal.”