Perez haunts Sage

NEWPORT COAST — Colton Gyulay walked off the Sage Hill School field as if someone robbed him. He sure felt that way after 100 minutes of a boys' soccer match against Whitney on Friday.

Overtime with these two programs seems to get confusing. The latest mistake in overtime helped Whitney win, 2-1, and get closer to defending its Academy League title.

Sage Hill Coach Ignacio Cid tried to talk to one of the referees afterward. The ref just looked at him and reminded Cid that he agreed to allow a Whitney player, who received two yellow cards in regulation, to play in overtime.

That player was Freddy Perez and he wound up punishing Sage Hill.

The senior scored an incredible game-winning goal in the 97th minute. He celebrated in grand fashion, much to the dismay of the home crowd.

Sanchez never should have been on the field in overtime. Two yellow cards in a match is an automatic ejection.

But one of the referees admitted to booking the wrong No. 9 on the field the first time around, to the surprise to practically everyone at the match. When Sanchez got his second yellow late in regulation, the ref had it as his first.

The coaches and refs gathered before overtime to discuss the error made by the ref.

"He kind of left it up to us, and I did say, 'Hey, you know what? I think that the kid should play because it was a referee mistake and that's part of the game,'" Cid said.

The decision seemed to backfire on Cid.

Sage Hill (3-2-1 in league) is still looking up to the Wildcats (3-1-2) in the league standings. Whitney Coach Joe Rodriguez likes where his side is with four league matches left.

"It's putting us in a situation where we control our own destiny again," Rodriguez said. "It was a great battle."

It was battle that Rodriguez said he was willing to take part in without Sanchez in the lineup in overtime.

The Lightning faithful did not take too kind to the move to let Sanchez play. They yelled at the refs, and Cid looked back toward the stands a couple of times, trying to calm the fans down.

He could not do much to quiet them down when it was Sanchez ruining their night in the second 10-minute overtime period.

Sanchez dribbled from the left side and into the box before putting a move on a defender. He unleashed a shot in the box to beat goalkeeper Mason Weinstein.

"I've been involved with [soccer] for 35 years now and I've never seen that happen before," Rodriguez said of a ref mistakenly having a player down with one yellow card, when he actually had two. "It's pretty ironic that [Sanchez] turns around and gets the winning goal."

The game-winner never came the first time these two schools met. Their coaches did not give their respective teams another chance in overtime.

Rodriguez and Cid, both first-year coaches at their schools, did not know the overtime rule. Instead of playing two, 10-minute overtime periods, the schools played just one. It got too dark before they learned the official rule and the match ended in a 2-2 tie.

The second meeting between Sage Hill and Whitney appeared as though it might not head into overtime. Whitney hung on to a 1-0 lead, until Taylor Ross capitalized on a defender's mistake.

The defender tried to clear the ball out of danger, but it went right to Ross. The senior blasted a shot past keeper Andy De Avila in the 73rd minute, tying the match at 1-1.

De Avila redeemed himself late in regulation, when Jack Percival almost nailed the game-winner for Sage Hill. De Avila leaped, making sure to get a glove on the ball headed just below the crossbar. He pushed it over, ending the Lightning's best chance to beat Whitney.

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