Huntington Beach boys’ soccer flips script on Estancia in playoff rematch
The Huntington Beach High School boys’ soccer team did not forget.
Two seasons ago, Estancia came to Huntington Beach for a first-round matchup in the postseason and easily dismissed the Oilers on their home field.
The tables were turned in the rematch, as Huntington Beach defeated visiting Estancia 5-1 on Thursday in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoffs.
Carson Dykes, who scored a goal that put the Oilers on top 3-1 in the 29th minute, mentioned that his immediate reaction was to smile when he saw that Huntington Beach and Estancia were paired together in the bracket.
After starting the season by going 10-0-2 to ascend to as high as second in the Division 2 rankings, Huntington Beach dropped two of its last three contests to finish second to Newport Harbor in the Wave League.
In watching the Wave League title slip away, the Oilers didn’t need any more motivation.
“Those two losses really slapped us in the face and put us back on our feet,” Dykes said. “I think that’s what we needed. We needed a fall from grace.
“Maybe it was a good reset, so if winning this CIF tournament means we didn’t win the league, then I’m fine with it.”
Huntington Beach (12-2-2) travels to take on Tustin (14-4-4) in the second round on Saturday at 5 p.m.
Estancia broke through first on a free kick, as Felix Solis was able to sneak a shot under the player wall in front of the goal in the opening minutes.
“Don’t jump in a wall,” said Oilers coach Sean Dick, who had little else to complain about in the win. “There’s that rule. That’s simple enough. Keeper sets the wall to protect the near post, don’t jump in the wall.”
Speaking to the challenges that were faced in preparing for the season through coronavirus restrictions, Eagles coach Robert Castellano said that he believes this year’s team grew the most of any he has coached.
Estancia went 6-0-2 over its last eight games in the Orange Coast League, demonstrating that growth following a 1-5-2 start to the season.
But in his own words, Castellano knew his team would have to “weather the storm” after striking first. Estancia (7-6-4) was unable to do so, as Reid Fisher scored back-to-back goals on headers assisted by Slater Hammer.
“We woke them up after that, and we just couldn’t get out of our defensive third,” Castellano said. “They press really well, they’re very organized, very athletic, very strong, very fast. We’ve played teams like that, but we just couldn’t do it today.”
The dominance in time of possession led to Dykes’ goal dribbling through the box and a two-goal lead for the Oilers going into halftime.
“From the beginning, we’ve been scoring goals early,” Fisher said. “That was kind of the message from the beginning of the year. Every time we want it really bad, we score goals early. I’m really happy with how the boys came out.”
Estancia had a great chance to cut into the deficit in the 52nd minute. Hector Garcia lined up a free kick from the left edge of the box, but the aerial cross evaded the head of David Lopez.
In the 59th minute, Estancia’s JJ Aguilar robbed Nathan Francis looking to score at the left post, but Huntington Beach broke through with its fourth goal three minutes later — a header by Alejandro Guzman off a long free kick at midfield.
Tyler Kakimoto, who was lobbying with his coach for playing time in the first half, added on in the 70th minute, chipping in with his left foot off a cross from Teddy Melitas.
“I want to help the team, and I think when I’m going at defenders and playing my game, I think I add a lot,” Kakimoto said. “That’s what I want. I want the best for the team.”
Daniel Kotkosky made five saves for the Oilers.
“The boys are always told, ‘You get out on the pitch, don’t give me a reason to take you off,’” Dick said. “Today, it was literally, ‘Who should I take off,’ because I’m trying to just manage the minutes right now. I want everyone fresh for the next round.”
Support our sports coverage by becoming a digital subscriber.
All the latest on Orange County from Orange County.
Get our free TimesOC newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Daily Pilot.