By MICHAEL JORGENSON
SBCC SPORTS WRITER
Just when things seemed dire in its regular season home finale against L.A. Mission on Tuesday night, the Santa Barbara City College men’s soccer team stepped up in the biggest way.
Ultimately the Vaqueros won the match.
After the Eagles (6-9-6 overall, 5-3-2 WSC) tied the match at 1-1 with a goal in the 79th minute, SBCC began pushing numbers forward in the home game.
The Vaqueros (13-4-3, 7-2-1) had played with a renewed sense of urgency from the moment the second half started, resulting in a 54th-minute penalty from midfielder Tanner Stevenson that initially put them ahead.
Once again, Stevenson would play a part in an SBCC scoring opportunity. He moved into space in the 86th minute, taking one dribble after receiving the pass from Paulo Carrillo-Weisenburger, and placed the perfect ball through for forward Bart Muns.
Playing with an injured right hand, the Western State Conference’s leading scorer only needed his left foot to slot home his seventh game-winning goal of the season on first contact. It was his 16th goal of the season, tying Victor Chavez (2017) for the most of any Vaquero in the last eight years.
Muns was also the one who drew a foul in the box earlier in the half. A slick ball from Carrillo-Weisenburger caught one of L.A. Mission’s center backs in no-man’s land, allowing Muns to turn and take the ball in stride. Before the rushing goalkeeper could meet him, he was taken down by the other center back, who failed in his stretching attempt to make a clean tackle.
Stevenson did the honors from the spot, keeping the shot low to the left and controlled with precise power to make it 1-0. The only Vaquero to appear in all 19 games this season, Stevenson is now tied for third on the team in both goals (4) and assists (5).
An unfortunate Vaquero error in the 77th minute gave L.A. Mission a free kick in very dangerous territory at the edge of the box. A shot that could have tied the game went high, but the Eagles weren’t done threatening.
A ball played into the box in the 79th minute drew the SBCC defense towards the back post. A defensive header ended up landing right at the foot of L.A. Mission’s Justin Ramirez, whose first touch shot into the bottom right corner had no chance of being stopped.
A resurging SBCC team would come up clutch with one of the most memorable goals of the year soon after. The Vaqueros improved to 9-1-1 at La Playa Stadium with the win.
Santa Barbara travels to Santa Monica this Friday for its final game of the regular season beginning at 3 p.m.
Michael Jorgenson works in communications/media relations at Santa Barbara City College.