Santa Ana High School hasn’t won a league championship since rejoining the Sunset League this season, but the boys’ soccer team appears ready to change that.
The Saints, ranked No. 2 in Orange County, are only one victory from the title after scoring three second-half goals to beat Edison, 3-1, Monday on the muddy Santa Ana field.
“We were a little flat in the first half,” Santa Ana Coach Sammy Buenostro said. “We had a little pep talk at halftime, when I reminded them that we needed the victory.”
The Saints (11-5-2, 7-1-1 in league) took heed.
Santa Ana dominated play after intermission. Hector Perez gave the Saints a 1-0 lead on a head shot off a rebound with 26 minutes 30 seconds remaining.
Forward Gustavo Plasencia scored his first of two goals 1 1/2 minutes later when he took an inbounds kick from Armando Hernandez and drilled the ball in from the right side of the box, giving the Saints a 2-0 lead.
Edison (10-9-2, 2-5-2), which had few scoring opportunities in the second half, closed the gap to 2-1 on Matt Rellera’s free kick with 20:30 remaining.
Plasencia put the game out of reach with 14 minutes left when, after some nifty footwork to get past goalkeeper Joey Parness, he scored on a breakaway to make it 3-1.
“We knew they were going to come at us fast and strong (in the second half),” Edison Coach Mike DiGiovanni said. “We just didn’t adjust. They’re a very, very good team. The way they’re playing, they’ll win the league. They’ll deserve it.”
Said Buenostro: “Santa Ana hasn’t done too well in football and basketball since coming back into the Sunset League. We’re glad to be the ones to finally win a championship. Basically, I do think we have some top talent.”