The San Luis Obispo High School boys soccer team had a simple game plan coming into its second-round CIF-Southern Section Division 2 playoff game against Godinez: Stop Bryan Ibarra.
The physical striker and quarterback for the Godinez football team had 28 goals for the top-seeded Grizzlies, almost double the number scored by SLO High’s top scorer sophomore Branden Dolezal, who had 15 on the season. The Tigers executed the game plan to perfection by getting physical with the 6-foot-2, 188-pound senior and prevented any real chances from him.
But who they didn’t game plan for was Ernesto Macias, a Godinez defender who hadn’t scored all season. Macias’ flick header off a long throw-in during the second half was the only score in the game and gave top-seeded Godinez (21-2), the Orange Coast League champions, a 1-0 win Thursday night at San Luis Obispo High School and a spot in the quarterfinals.
“They had about 10 of those (long throw-in) chances, and eventually one of those was going to fall their way, and that’s what happened,” SLO High head coach James Boscaro said. “You don’t expect that to be what beats you.”
A few minutes after the goal, SLO High senior Grayson Stewart appeared to score the equalizer after an indirect free kick from about 25 yards out ricocheted off the cross bar right to his feet, but the line judge determined he was offside before the kick.
“We put the ball in the net, we got an unlucky call, what we felt should have been a legit goal,” Boscaro said. “Tristian (Torres) had a nice shot. Had it gone directly in, it wouldn’t have counted. But because of the fact that it hit the post and came right back to our player who kicked it in ... the linesman deemed him offside. I didn’t see him offside from where I was standing.”
Earlier in the second half, SLO High had a point-blank chance to take a 1-0 lead following a strange sequence. With Dolezal chasing, Macias tried to kick the ball out of danger, but the ball went backwards toward Godinez senior goalkeeper Alex Penaloza. He picked up the ball, but the referee determined the ball had been deliberately kicked to him by Macias and called a foul just 4 yards from the goal. SLO High was awarded an indirect free kick, but all 11 Godinez players lined up on the goal line, and Torres’ shot was turned away.
On the other end, SLO High goalkeeper Benji Alonso played well in the loss. He had six saves in the first half and gave the PAC 8 champion Tigers (19-4-2, 12-1-1 PAC 8) a chance to win the game in the second half. Alonso is one of the Tigers’ seven seniors who won’t be back next season.
“We have high goals here, we want to win a CIF title, so in that regard I’m upset, I’m not disappointed,” Boscaro said. “We won the league, we sent out seven really good seniors with a championship. We had quite a few freshman on the field tonight and a sophomore leading us most of the year, so we will be back.”