By MICHAEL JORGENSON
SBCC SPORTS WRITER
Just when things looked dire in their regular season home final against LA Mission on Tuesday night, the Santa Barbara City College men’s soccer team got stronger in the most important way.
Ultimately, the Vaqueros won the game.
After the Eagles (6-9-6 overall, 5-3-2 WSC) tied the game at 1-1 with a 79th-minute goal, the SBCC started pushing the numbers forward in the home game. .
The Vaqueros (13-4-3, 7-2-1) had played with a renewed sense of urgency from the start of the second half, resulting in a 54th-minute penalty from midfielder Tanner Stevenson who had them initially put in mind.
Again, Stevenson would play a part in an SBCC scoring opportunity. He moved into space in the 86th minute, landing a dribble after receiving the pass from Paulo Carrillo-Weisenburger, and placed the perfect ball for forward Bart Muns.
Playing with an injured right hand, the Western State Conference top scorer needed only his left foot to score his seventh game-winning goal of the season on first contact. It was his 16th goal of the season, tying Victor Chavez (2017) for most Vaqueros in the past eight years.
Muns is also the one who fouled the box earlier in the half. A smooth Carrillo-Weisenburger ball caught one of LA Mission’s center-backs in no man’s land, allowing Muns to turn around and take the ball in stride. Before the goalkeeper could meet him, he was shot down by the other center-back, who failed in his attempt to stretch to make a clean tackle.
Stevenson took the honors on the spot, keeping the shot low to the left and controlled with precise power to make it 1-0. The only Vaquero to have played all 19 games this season, Stevenson is now tied for third on the team in goals (4) and assists (5).
An unfortunate mistake by Vaquero in the 77th minute gave LA Mission a free kick into very dangerous territory at the edge of the box. A shot that could have tied the game went high, but the Eagles continued to threaten.
A ball played into the box in the 79th minute drew the SBCC defense to the back post. A defensive header ended up landing right at the foot of LA Mission’s Justin Ramirez, whose first touchdown in the lower right corner had no chance of being stopped.
A resurgent SBCC team would tackle one of the year’s most memorable goals soon after. The Vaqueros improved to 9-1-1 at La Playa Stadium with the win.
Santa Barbara heads to Santa Monica this Friday for their last game of the regular season starting at 3 p.m.
Michael Jorgenson works in communications and media relations at Santa Barbara City College.
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