The Simi Valley High soccer team had ended regulation play against Bishop Amat, the score was tied at one, and Pioneers Coach Andy Silva was walking his sideline. "We should have put them away a long time ago," he said. "But, you know what they say, you have keep the fans in the stands and give them their money's worth."
Silva knows fans like he knows soccer--and they might have felt gypped. In regulation, Simi Valley, the No. 1 ranked team in the Southern Section 4-A, had outrun and outshot the third-place team from the Angelus League, but it hadn't outscored them.
The 200 fans had to weather two cold 10-minute overtime periods to get their money's worth. The Pioneers scored two goals in the first overtime and one in the second en route to a 4-1 first-round playoff victory Thursday evening at Simi Valley.
"They deserve the No. 1 ranking," Bishop Amat Coach Bill Mulvehill said. "We've played the No. 2 team, Bishop Montgomery, and I haven't seen any team better than Simi."
The Lancers weren't too shabby themselves. Bishop Amat scored first--Ed Morgan took a throw-in from Chris Bravata and headed it past Simi Valley goalkeeper Steve Bame. It was only the 17th time this season Bame has let the ball hit the back of the net.
"It was a big surprise," Bame said. "I hadn't even touched the ball yet and he caught me off-balance and he just headed it in."
Late in the first half, Jeff Tregembo took an assist from Ricky Acuna and scored to tie the game. Mulvehill had pulled a forward back to help the defense after Bishop Amat's goal, but Tregembo's score proved that the added-man defense was penetrable.
"We almost pulled it off," Mulvehill said.
Simi Valley outshot Bishop Amat, 39-7. Bame had to make but three saves.
"Our defense was dominating," Bame said. "They made it easy. They've been doing it all year."
And the Pioneers' offense has been scoring goals all year, paving the way to a 22-0-4 overall record and a Marmonte League championship with a 9-0-2.
With 1 1/2 minutes gone in the first overtime, Acuna dribbled deftly and passed twice to himself in front of the Lancers' net before he fired past Bishop Amat goalkeeper Dan Martinez. Steve MacKenzie scored for Simi Valley eight minutes later to give the Pioneers a 3-1 lead.
With three minutes left in the final overtime, Tregembo scored his second goal on an assist from Clas Bolinder.