Both sides had its fair share of opportunities Thursday night, but much like the first two meetings between these two crosstown rivals, neither could find the net a second time.
After a scoreless first half, the Santa Barbara High boys soccer team got on the board first but San Marcos was right there minutes later to tie things up.
Ultimately, the second match between these two rivals ended in a 1-1 tie, a similar fate to the match that took place 13 days ago, also at Warkentin Stadium.
That 1-1 tie had to be forfeited by San Marcos a few days later after violating CIF rules.
Though the two shared a tie, the result has drastic differences for both sides.
With the tie, the Royals are now 1-2-3 in league play and with just four points through six games in the Channel League, their postseason chances are looking grim.
“We’re disappointed not to win. That’s a good sign that both teams had some good chances and we both defended well but I’ll just say, we needed those points more than them,” San Marcos coach Paul McLean said.
On the flip side, a tie really isn’t the end of the world for Santa Barbara. Though the team would have liked to make a statement against its rivals, it is still sitting pretty atop the Channel League standings thanks to a 4-0-2 mark and 14 points.
Santa Barbara is also ranked No. 6 in the CIF-SS Div. 1 and No. 13 in the nation by Top Drawer Soccer.
“Our goal was this week to make sure we ended up in first place at the end of the week going into the Santa Ynez match and we accomplished that goal. Now it’s just about getting healthy and ready for next week,” Santa Barbara coach Todd Heil said.
“The boys need to realize this was a tough week. They’re a little frustrated right now but there’s the bigger picture for us and we can’t get caught looking at this one moment, we have to think big picture.”
After a 2-1 win over Dos Pueblos Thursday, the Pirates remain in second place with 13 points and a 4-1-1 Channel League mark.
Santa Barbara will welcome Santa Ynez next Tuesday in a match that could decide the winner of the Channel League.
Focusing on Thursday’s match first, however, Heil was much happier with how Santa Barbara started the contest compared to last time.
In the first half, the Dons created multiple opportunities to score and nearly netted a goal in the 19th minute when Cason Goodman received a great feed from Juan Carlos Torres.
Goodman, standing inside the 18, fired a low shot that got past Royals’ keeper Sam Friedman, but was just a bit too wide, missing the inside post of the net.
San Marcos was no pushover, however, creating multiple opportunities itself. Unfortunately, the Royals suffered a big blow when junior midfielder AJ Ranii, who scored the equalizer in the first meeting between the two teams, left the field with an injury.
Still, the Royals fought on and senior forward Levi Sheffey tried to pick up the scoring, getting two shots on goal, though both were saved by Connor Lambe.
The scoring picked up quickly in the second half. After a deep kickoff, Santa Barbara drew a throw-in. Off of that, the ball was played into the Royals 18, and after being kicked around for a while.
Finally, Santa Barbara’s Jorge Ochoa made a diving kick with his left foot that got past Friedman and into the net for a score.
“I went to the front of the goal and I was just in the right place. You always have to be ready for anything that can happen,” Ochoa said.
After the score, the Dons had all the momentum and were attempting to try to add another score but to no avail.
Finally, in the 56th minute, the Royals nodded things up when Sheffey received a pass from Uli Velez, San Marcos’ back-up keeper.
Sheffey had a bad first touch on it, but it hit off a nearby Santa Barbara defender and right into the waning legs of the Royals Isaac Estrada.
Estrada fired the shot to the left corner of the net and found it.
“I saw the ball and took my shot. We played well. The forwards were amazing, the midfield did fantastic and our defense was incredible. We were hoping for a win but we didn’t get the result we wanted,” Estrada said.
From there, both sides attempted to find an extra score but neither side had any luck.
For the game, Santa Barbara had 13 shots compared to San Marcos’ nine. Both teams had six shots on goal with each keeper earning four saves.
“I think their goal just drove us to work even harder and get that goal back. It honestly just fired us up to get get the game back in our hands,” Sheffey said.
“We just could not get that extra goal.”
Despite the tie, McLean was happy with the fact that again his team battled back from a 1-0 deficit.
“That’s a great characteristic of our team. We don’t quit and that’s a cultural thing we’ve been trying to shift at San Marcos for a while. We expect to beat good teams like Santa Barbara and Dos Pueblos,” McLean said.
As a senior, Sheffey said that he is excited where the San Marcos program is headed. He said for the majority of his career, he recalls getting blown out by Santa Barbara.
In the last two years, the Royals have put together a record of 1-1-2, not counting the forfeit, against their crosstown rival.
“The rivalry is just uncanny to anything else I’ve ever played in. I mean just coming out here and leaving it all on the field, there’s nothing else you could ask for. Playing with these guys, there’s nothing else like it,” Sheffey said.