St. Francis soccer downed by Dons

LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE — Part ruthlessly efficient, part gracefully balanced, the visiting Santa Barbara High boys' soccer team was totally dominant in nonleague action Saturday afternoon, taking apart St. Francis, 6-1, at Friedman Field.

Whether it was stats, such as the Dons outshooting the Golden Knights, 25-11, or on-field play, as Santa Barbara doubled its first-half offensive output with four second-half goals, there wasn't much the Dons did wrong or much St. Francis could look for positively.

"I don't think we did much well and the score says that," Golden Knights Coach Glen Appels said. "Obviously, we didn't defend well. They're a good team, but we made them look a lot better."

The formula for the Division I 10th-ranked Dons (8-1) was simple and well-orchestrated.

Santa Barbara started its attack from the middle and then kicked out to its wings in senior strikers Alec Larson and Leo Adame, who figured into four of the team's six goals.

Larson helped ice the contest with two second-half goals that pushed the match out of reach.

Santa Barbara led, 2-0, at halftime and increased its advantage in the 50th minute when Adame fed Larson along the left wing. Larson took the pass 30 yards from goal, beat one defender and rifled a 17-yard score far post to put Santa Barbara up, 3-0.

The Dons later put the match out of reach in the 67th minute when freshman halfback Brandon Sanchez fed a perfect through ball to Larson, who scored from 12 yards out as Santa Barbara went up, 4-1.

"You know, it's Alec and Adame wide. Those are two guys who have been on varsity for a while, they're third-year seniors," Dons Coach Todd Heil said. "They understand the game, our system and today we got a great effort from them."

Santa Barbara added a goal in the 73rd minute from Adrian Rodriguez, who was assisted by Rufino Sanchez, and a final goal from Rufino Sanchez, who converted a penalty shot.

The late score was the second surrendered by St. Francis in the final minute of the half to a Sanchez brother, as Brandon Sanchez received a brilliant 20-yard through ball from Adame and laced in a 15-yard shot past St. Francis keeper Luca Coppola in the 40th minute that gave Santa Barbara its 2-0 halftime advantage.

Santa Barbara's first goal came on a four-person combination that concluded when senior forward Jason Ildefonso held off two defenders with his back to the goal and fed streaking teammate Pepe Barron for a 12-yard goal into the opposite corner.

"We were able to get behind St. Francis a lot, almost too much because we were called a few time for offsides," said Heil, whose team was whistled six times for offsides.

St. Francis' score came in the 58th minute off a set piece, when senior Christian Green launched a 40-yard free kick that found freshman Alex Pidoux in the penalty area. Pidoux headed the ball from 15 yards for the goal.

St. Francis, which was outshot, 14-4, in the first half, increased its shot total in the second half to seven, but was unable to score more than one goal.

What was equally disappointing for Appels as his team's play was the perception Coppola didn't play well. The senior goalie turned in a couple of spectacular stops in finishing with 10 saves versus the blitzkrieg.

"Luca had a great game for us, otherwise it could have been much worse," Appels said. "Give credit to Santa Barbara, we have a terrific goalie and they still put up six."

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