Facing Rio Hondo on Friday night at La Playa Stadium, the SBCC men’s soccer team found itself in another tightly contested battle that could have gone either way. In the end, the Vaqueros earned a draw for the second straight time at home, 1-1.
Santa Barbara is now 1-1-2 while the Roadrunners move to 1-3-2.
The two sides were fairly evenly matched until the 21st minute, when forward Lukas Lovgren was taken down in the box.
SBCC’s leading goalscorer Bart Muns stepped to the spot to take the penalty. His shot was placed low and to the left, but Rio Hondo goalkeeper James Ortiz chose correctly and made the save. Muns was first to the rebound though, and on the ensuing scramble, he gained possession on the end line and crammed the ball back in front of goal hoping to make something happen. Despite multiple Roadrunner defenders being in position, the ball took the deflection it needed and ended up in the back of the net, giving Muns his fourth goal in four games to start the year.
After the restart, Rio Hondo came out with a noticeable increase in energy. The Roadrunners skillfully took on Vaquero defenders and tested goalkeeper Will Haberfield from distance, but SBCC’s back line remained stubborn and wouldn’t concede any real scoring chances.
However, that would finally change in the final 20 minutes of the match. An SBCC goal kick resulted in a fast-paced Roadrunner attack, and Adam Villareal played it forward to midfielder Jesus Garcia. In a foot race, Garcia was able to shed off his defender, taking his first touch off the head to set up a shot from the right side of the 18 to equalize.
It was the one time Haberfield was beaten on a night where he consistently stood his ground and found himself in the right position to make plays. He finished with three saves.
The Vaqueros pushed forward the rest of the way, with Lovgren working the left wing and freshman forward Brandon Garcia De La Fuente trying to use his speed to beat his man on the right. With several minutes remaining, an SBCC free kick led to an incredible chance to equalize, as a low cross from the left side made it all the way through the box to defender Oscar Chacon-Gallardo, but he just wasn’t able to squeeze his on-target blast through the swarm of Roadrunner defenders that threw their bodies in the way.
In the dying moments, another cross found Muns for the potential game-winner. He did his best to backpedal into a header that he sent back across the face of goal, but it went just wide of the post.
SBCC will be back home for its next contest on Tuesday, Sept. 20 against Bakersfield at 2 p.m.
Michael Jorgenson works in communications/media relations at Santa Barbara City College.