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Prep Boys Soccer Playoffs: Business as usual for Oak Hills
Bulldogs defeat Bishop Amat in first round
OAK HILLS • It took the Oak Hills boys soccer team a while to get its act together Friday afternoon.
But once they did, the Bulldogs simply did what they do best: win in the playoffs.
Sage Smith energized Oak Hills with a goal just before halftime, and the Bulldogs beat Bishop Amat 2-0 in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 4 playoffs.
“It took us a while to settle into the game,” Oak Hills coach Darren Goodman said. “They outplayed us most of the first half. We had some young kids and some nerves — it was their first playoff game ever and a lot to live up to. To their credit, in the second half they settled in. It just took them a while.”
The Bulldogs (22-2-2) finished the regular season ranked second in the division, while the Lancers (9-9-1) were a third-place team that finished only a game over .500 during the regular season.
But for the first 35 minutes, an identity swap appeared to take place as Bishop Amat controlled the possession by a hefty margin and had the vast majority of the offensive opportunities.
Anthony Alvarez and Smith connected seconds before the whistle to end what had been an otherwise forgettable half of play on a high note. Alvarez corralled a loose ball at midfield and fired a long pass down the middle. Smith beat two defenders to the ball and pushed it under the charging goalkeeper to send the Bulldogs into the break with a lead.
“We came out kind of slow at first trying to figure out that team,” Smith said. “We’ve been doing it all year where we can find our forwards ... coming out of the back on defense. We struggled getting it out for a little while, but once we were able to get it out we found our game.
“I think our momentum and motivation changed after that goal. We came out in the second half ready to work and win.”
Fueled by that goal and a chewing out from Goodman, Oak Hills handily won the possession battle and allowed only one shot by the Lancers in the second half. Jose Nuno added an insurance goal in the 60th minute when he took an aerial pass from Daniel Carillo and redirected it in mid air right in front of the keeper.
“We had a decent first half, but that goal at the end of the first half kind of killed us,” Bishop Amat coach Juan Rodriguez said. “If we go into the half 0-0 it’s a very different game.”
The victory also marked the Bulldogs’ 14th shutout of the season. They have allowed only six goals in their last 11 games.
“Because our forwards are so good our defense is overshadowed,” Goodman said. “The defense is scrappy. It’s not always pretty, but they find a way to get the job done.”
Oak Hills is now 11-3 all time in section playoff games and has reached at least the semifinals in all three years of the program’s existence.
The Bulldogs will look to continue that playoff success when they face West Ranch in the second round Wednesday.
Kyle Glaser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (760) 951-6274.