Early on, it was difficult to keep up with the San Luis Obispo High boys soccer team.
In the first 12 minutes of their PAC 7 game against Atascadero on Wednesday night, the Tigers knocked in four goals. The first one came at the seven-minute mark.
In other words, it was all San Luis Obispo in its 5-1 road rout of the Greyhounds.
The Tigers extended their overall mark to 14-1-2 and are 7-0 in the PAC 7, their best league start in coach Johnny Costa’s four years.It didn’t take long for the Tigers to secure the win. Twelve minutes, to be exact.
It started with an Alex Maier-assisted goal by Paul Sullivan seven minutes into the game, which was followed by goals from Scotty Allis (assisted by Trevor James) and Sullivan again (assisted by Matt Connely).
And Connely finished off the five-minute onslaught with an unassisted goal in the 12th minute to make it 4-0. The night didn’t look promising for Atascadero (4-11-2, 1-6 PAC 7).
San Luis Obispo had one final tally a minute into the second half, when Lukas Holocher assisted Travis Caldwell on a score right in front of the goal.
“We have multi-options of attack,” Costa said. “If one part of our attack shuts down or it’s not working, we can go somewhere else.”
The Tigers did have one slipup. They were called for a handball inside the box late in the first half, leading to Atascadero’s Isaias Maganda knocking in a penalty kick into the right corner to narrow the deficit to 4-1.
“No matter who we’re playing, we overestimate every team we’re gonna play,” Costa said. “That’s how we’ve gone through the season. We came out playing the best (soccer) that we could.”
The Tigers also maintained control of the game with stingy defense and by not allowing the Greyhounds many scoring chances — highlighted by the fact that San Luis Obispo goalkeeper Baldric Bermudez finished with just two saves.
The Tigers attempted 19 shots, with 10 of them on goal.
“We were direct, we played pretty fast and we just had connections right in the beginning and we have good goal scorers,” Connely said. “It made it easier for the defense to feel more secure and our team just got on a rhythm after that.”
San Luis Obispo hasn’t lost since falling 4-2 to Golden Valley of Bakersfield on Dec. 2, a 13-game stretch. And with five league games left, it’s natural to bring up the possibility of finishing with a perfect PAC 7 record.
But the Tigers aren’t thinking that far ahead.
“I don’t really think about it,” Connely said. “I just hope we win league. I mean, undefeated will be great, but we’re just trying to get to the CIF (playoffs).”