BSoc: Laguna Blanca wins in OT, advances to first CIF Final

The Laguna Blanca boys soccer team celebrates after beating second-seeded West Shores in overtime, 2-1.

The Laguna Blanca boys soccer team celebrates after beating second-seeded West Shores in overtime, 2-1.

Ethan Tyng scored in the first overtime period, lifting Laguna Blanca to a dramatic 2-1 victory over second-seeded West Shores in the CIF Division 7 boys soccer semifinals on Tuesday in Salton City.

The Owls (14-1-3) will be playing in their first CIF championship in boys soccer on Saturday. They’ll face Condor League rival Dunn, which blanked University Prep, 3-0, in the other semifinal on Tuesday in Los Olivos.

The championship game could be played in Santa Barbara County. A Laguna Blanca official said he was hoping to get UCSB’s Harder Stadium.

“What better place to play a final than Harder, where they played a national championship,” said Laguna Blanca coach Daniel Torres.

Laguna Blanca and Dunn played to 3-3 and 1-1 draws in their two league encounters.

“We know them, they know us. It will come down to who wants it more,” said Torres.

Damien Nunez scored the game-tying goal in the 78th minute and Tyng deliverd the golden goal in the seventh minute of the first 10-minute overtime. He finished a pass from Ryan Bickett.

Torres said after Nunez tied the score he was confident the Owls would prevail in overtime.

“I told the boys at the break that we were going to win in overtime,” he said.

Laguna Blanca fell behind in the 10th minute of the match. It was the first time the Owls trailed in several matches. And if they were going to equalize, they would have to go through almost the entire West Shores team.

“They kind of sat back, they had two lines of four and just looked for the counter,” Torres said of West Shores. “They played it safe. It took us a while to break them down. It was one of those games where you’re thinking, ‘We’re not going to score.’”

He said the team was a “little bit nervous” at halftime. “They didn’t know to do. I told them to compete, be focused and ready. Whenever we get that chance, we have to be able to put it away.”

Nunez was ready.

In the 78th minute, Cooper Farrell threw in to Wakelin McNeel and he headed to Nunez, who beat the West Shores goalkeeper.

Nunez has been on fire in the playoffs. He scored two goals in the second round and quarterfinal games.

Torres said Nunez played the game with a fever. “The kid was sick; I felt sorry for him. But, man, did he show up when we needed him.”

Prior to the game-tying goal, the Owls put lots of pressure on West Shores. Nunez had a great chance that was tipped away by the West Shores goalkeeper. On the ensuing corner kick, Nunez bent the ball on goal but the Wildcats kept it out. Farrell had a chance on another Nunez corner kick but he was denied by the goalkeeper.

Torres was proud how his players battled in their first CIF semifinal apperance.

“Their performance overall was amazing,” he said. “I told them to be ready, have fun with it and enjoy it. Even though they were nervous, the boys did a phenomenal job of winning the game for themselves.:

Torres will be taking his second team to the CIF Finals. In 2011, he guided Carpinteria to the finals.