Saddleback’s Christina Santoyo (#20) scores her second goal of the game by placing her into the top right corner to make it 4-0. Dylan Luden | Lariat
Saddleback’s soccer team took down district rivals Irvine Valley College 4-0 on Thursday, Nov. 10 to finish their regular season on the right foot heading into the CCCAA state playoffs. The win was their 16th on the season, tying for the second most wins in a season in program history.
With the victory over IVC, Saddleback won the SOCCCD Cup for the fifth straight season. The cup is a friendly competition between the two intra-district rivals where the winner is determined by an aggregate score of both games. Saddleback won the first game against IVC 8-0, making the total score of both games 12-0.
“It’s always been a friendly rivalry between Saddleback and IVC,” said BJ McNicol, Saddleback’s head coach. “It’s all fun and a part of our process throughout the year to get prepared for big games like this and it’s a nice way to end the regular season before we move into playoff mode.”
Saddleback started the game off strong, pressuring IVC in their half of the field for a majority of the first half. Saddleback had the majority of possession and were trying to break through the IVC backline to get their first goal of the game.
In the 14th minute, Saddleback were able to receive a corner kick and took advantage of the opportunity. Brisa Romero was able to play a pass to Leila Patopoff to tap it in for the first goal of the game.
Just nine minutes later in the 23rd minute, Saddleback were handed another great scoring chance when a free kick was given after an IVC foul. The ball was lined up about 25 yards from the goal for free kick taker Kylie Beu.
The free kick was a practiced trick play with two Saddleback players standing in front of the ball, making it hard to see for the IVC players. As Beu started to run up to take the kick, the two Saddleback players split in opposite directions, throwing off the IVC defenders. Beu rocketed the shot past the IVC goalkeeper, Andrea Gonzales, to make it 2-0 before the end of the first half.
“We actually went over the play at practice before this game,” Beu said. “We’ve been working on it and it started off differently, but we thought it would work if two players split and I just went for goal.”
Saddleback came out firing in the second half, scoring a goal in the opening minute of play. Christina Santoyo was able to slip it past the goalkeeper off of a Lizbeth De Loera pass to extend Saddleback’s lead to 3-0.
Five minutes later, Saddleback was on the attacking forefront yet again. Aliyah Lorsung passed it to Santoyo again who was open in the 18-yard box. Santoyo took her time and placed her shot in the top right corner of the net, an unstoppable shot to make it 4-0 Saddleback and put the game to bed. The two goals for Santoyo were her fifth and sixth of the season.
“I was so happy with our performance today and I love playing with everybody on this team,” Santoyo said. “Someone shot it and the pass deflected right to me for the first goal, so I was happy to get to the ball and score.”
IVC had some chances, but Saddleback’s defense remained stout all game. Their best chance came off of a powerful shot from the top of the 18-yard box. It would’ve been a tough save for Saddleback’s goalkeeper Jaime-Lynne Clark to make, but defender Alyssa Sims came up with a huge block to stop the shot.
Saddleback’s defense and goalkeeper duo of Clark and Olivia Wynn combined for their 12th shutout on the season. Saddleback finishes the regular season with a 16-2-3 record, finishing second in the Orange Empire Conference behind Santiago Canyon.
Saddleback will wait until Monday, Nov. 14 to find out who they will play in the first round of the CCCAA playoffs. Their first playoff game will be Saturday, Nov. 19 with the time and location yet to be determined.