Holt's Shield Provides 13th Shutout in a Row

Times Staff Writer

In the past 13 games involving the Royal High soccer team, the situation has been the same. Only the names of the opponents have been changed.

But not to protect the losers, apparently.

The Highlanders made Oxnard their 13th consecutive shutout victim in a 3-0 victory Tuesday at Del Sol Park in Oxnard that moved Royal into the quarterfinal round of the Southern Section 4-A Division playoffs against Alta Loma on Friday. Alta Loma defeated Santa Ana, 5-4, on penalty kicks in another second-round game Tuesday.

"As long as we get one goal, I'll keep the rest out," said Royal goalkeeper Karl Holt, who did just that, making 10 saves.

Royal, the third-ranked team in the 4-A, improved to 23-1-2.

Oxnard, which entered the match as the No. 1-seeded team from the Channel League, finished 16-6-2. But the Yellowjackets put up a fight before suffering the same fate as Royal's other recent opponents.

Royal, which has outscored opponents, 72-7, this season and 35-0 in the past 13 games, had scored just once before picking up two goals in the last three minutes.

Senior Edwin Vela scored his 12th goal 20 minutes into the first half when the ball rolled from eight yards out and into the net just past the outstretched hand of Oxnard goalie Eugene Chavez.

That was the only goal until Mathew Brinkman scored on a head shot assisted by Marco Todesco with three minutes left in the game. Royal striker Matt Rast completed the scoring one minute later from 25 yards out.

"We just kept being persistent," Rast said. "We kept going at them; you know you're going to score some time."

Vela agreed: "I think that Oxnard is a very good team. The first half was an even game. But in the second half, we kept our composure and took care of business.

"We knew if we did that, things would take care of themselves."

It helped the Highlanders to know that Holt, who has a school-record 21 shutouts this season, would take care of his end of the field.

For other soccer playoff results, see Page 17.

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