Currently first in Ocean League

ATASCADERO — The Atascadero boys soccer team entered the season as one of the favorites in the Ocean League and have begun to hit their stride after a long preseason. Before having the last two weeks off for the holiday break, the boys soccer team played 13 games in just over two weeks’ time and capped it off with 13 goals in their final three games. Friday night, the Greyhounds returned to action and brought their offense with them, defeating Nipomo 3-2 at home to move to 3-1 and first in league. The Titans are also 3-1. 

“We practiced twice a week over the break to stay fit but I almost wish we could have kept playing because we were scoring so well,” Atascadero head coach Gary Setting said on the sidelines Friday night. 

It isn’t just that the Hounds have been scoring but how they have been scoring as they have been doing it in tremendous fashion. During the week of Dec. 22, Atascadero’s Jimmie Claudio dribbled down the visitor’s sideline at Memorial Stadium and chipped the goalkeeper from about 20 yards out, which landed on Hudl.com’s top five goals in California for the week (video below). 

On Friday night against the Titans, the Greyhounds scored two more goals, one off a corner kick and one during the flow of play, that both came off the heads of charging Greyhounds. 

The first goal came after 20 minutes of back and forth play from both after Atascadero earned a corner following a counter-attack. Sophomore captain Julio Lopez whipped his cross into the penalty area and Junior forward Toby Jones elevated above the rest of the defenders and powered the ball through the goalkeeper’s attempted block,  off the post, and off the keeper’s head for a goal to put them up 1-0 (video at the bottom of the page).

Atascadero sophomore captain Julio Caro brings down a high pass in traffic.

Ten minutes later the Hounds again made a run, this time down the center of the pitch, and Jones sent a perfect fluttering pass to junior Marvin Toledo at the corner of the five-yard box and he did the rest. 

The Titans answered back with a penalty kick goal near the end of the half to bring it to 2-1 at halftime. Nipomo tied the game up early in the second half and the two Ocean League favorites battled it out under the lights until Jones got free for one last, game-winning goal with seven minutes to go in the game putting Atascadero up 3-2. 

Atascadero midfielder Martin Anguiano dribbles upfield looking for an open teammate during Friday’s 3-2 victory over Nipomo. (Photos by Connor Allen)

With the victory over the Titans, the Greyhounds are now in the driver’s seat to win the Ocean League. Both Nipomo and Atascadero sit at 3-1 in the league but Atascadero’s loss came on an off night in Morro Bay to Pirates, who also have one loss. Should the Greyhounds win out, they would finish as the only team with only one loss. 

Atascadero will only play league games from here on out until they reach the postseason and have eight total games remaining. In their next three games, Atascadero will face Mission Prep(1-1-1), Templeton (2-1) and Orcutt Academy (1-2-1) but face a long four-game road streak following their game with the Eagles. After two weeks away from home, the Hounds will return to Memorial Stadium on Friday, January 31 for what could be a huge game against the Morro Bay Pirates. 

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