Brea Olinda heeded Coach Matt Swindle's halftime talk and rallied from a one-goal deficit to defeat Santiago, 3-2, Friday in the first round of the Southern Section Division III boys' soccer playoffs.
On Tuesday, Brea Olinda will face top-seeded Alta Loma, which beat Pasadena, 3-0. A coin flip will determine the site.
After falling behind when the Cavaliers' Albert Mendez scored 12 minutes into the game, the Wildcats were told by Swindle that they needed to play more aggressively in a game that was marked by 12 yellow cards and one red card.
The Wildcats (15-3-5) listened and responded, outshooting Santiago, 19-5, in the second half and scoring three goals in 10 minutes.
Junior Brian Yezarski fired up his teammates when he tied the score, 1-1, 19 minutes into the second half. On a throw-in from Jeff Atherton, the Wildcats swarmed to the net and Yezarski was able to jam a short shot past Santiago goalkeeper Alex Carranza.
One minute later, Yezarski was there again as he kicked a short pass in front of the net to forward Ron Whistler, who drilled the ball into the corner of the net for a 2-1 Brea Olinda lead.
With seven minutes left in the game, sophomore Michael Stevens came up with a shot that turned out to be the game winner. Stevens got the ball and raced down the sideline chased by a Cavalier defender. As the ball bounced in front of him, Stevens scored from more than 25 yards.
"It was a beautiful goal," Swindle said. "The keeper didn't even see it coming. It is the kind of goal everyone dreams of making."
Mendez scored his second goal on a free kick with two minutes remaining, but the Wildcats and freshman goalkeeper Scott Leyvar wouldn't let Santiago (19-5) get any closer. Leyvar finished with four saves. Carranza had eight for Santiago.
At the end of the game, Brea Olinda fans and parents were forced to delay their celebration until coaches were able to separate the teams after a skirmish on the field.
"They are a very talented team, but we are more disciplined." Swindle said. "They were very physical and aggressive. It gets ugly sometimes."
In other Division III games:
Anaheim 1, Pacifica 0--Juan Lopez's goal midway through the second half was enough for Anaheim as goalkeeper Travis Pena shut out the Mariners. Anaheim (9-7-6) plays host to Woodbridge in a second-round game Tuesday.
Woodbridge 3, Riverside J.W. North 0--Kevin Reid scored two goals and Mike Jacobs one for host Woodbridge (17-5-2).
El Toro 4, University 1--Wade Fraser scored three goals for El Toro (9-13-2), which advanced to play Riverside Poly in the second round. University finishes 12-7-2.
Santa Margarita 3, Laguna Beach 0--Brian Piesner scored twice and Matt Moses once for host Santa Margarita (21-1-3). Santa Margarita will play Arlington in the second round.