Atascadero finishes second in Ocean League
ATASCADERO — The Atascadero boys soccer team hosted senior night on Tuesday and won in thrilling fashion over Mission Prep as sophomore midfielder Caleb Newby scored from 40 yards out with just a minute to go in the second overtime period to earn the 1-0 win and secure second place to themselves.
The Greyhounds said goodbye to their longest tenured members before the start of the game, bidding farewell to seven seniors in Seth Camp, Jimmie Claudio, Noah Carlisle, Nathan Hontz, Jose Huitron, Wyatt Hasch, Geraldo Ayala, Manny Elias Frankie Fernandez and junior left back Julian Piepenberg, who is an exchange student.
“They all have a really strong bond, they have all been playing soccer together for a really long time and they are all really good friends, all of them,” Atascadero head soccer coach Gary Setting said following the game. “They are just a good solid group of kids — they are ready for adulthood is what I would say about them. They are all kind of looking to the next chapter.”
It was as good of a senior night game as those in attendance could have asked for as it ended with the entire Atascadero bench sprinting onto the field and mobbing a disoriented Newby who was nearly dizzy with excitement.
The Greyhounds and Royals battled into the brisk winter evening with every piece of potentially exposed skin covered and tied in a scoreless gridlock. The first half was very much a defensive battle as both teams bounced the ball around like a pinball.
At times, both teams were able to string together some possession and it was Mission Prep who threatened first with a pair of early corner kicks but Senior captain and keeper, Camp, was sharp in goal.
The Hounds responded with an opportunity of their own when who junior Ryan Bianco sent a pass rolling past the Royal’s keeper toward a streaking Manny Elias but the ball bounced out of bounds just past his outstretched, sliding, legs.
The games’ intensity rose in the second half and as both teams became increasingly chippy and started chirping at the offical. After a number of free kicks and stoppages to give indignant finger waves, the official had enough and handed out a red card to the Mission Prep bench.
After one scoreless overtime period the two teams headed into their final 10 minutes of play before penalty kicks would decide a winner and it was the Royals own mistake that led to their demise when their keeper fielded the ball and rather than punting it downfield, selecting a closer target in Atascadero’s J.J. Subia. The ball ricocheted off his back, high into the air, and to the awaiting feet of Newby. The sophomore took one touch and lofted the ball over the keepers head, safely into the back of the net for the 1-0 victory.
“He purposely kicked it off of J.J,” Newby said. “I wasn’t going to shoot it because I thought he [the official] was going to call it and then I was just like, ‘I’m going to go for it.’ First goal of the season in the last game.”
The Greyhound bench cleared as every player on the team formed an orange and grey mosh-pit at centerfield.
“It was one of my best moments of my life,” Newby added. “Everyone was just like chanting, the seniors, all happy on senior night. So, that was pretty cool.”
Atascadero finishes the regular season at 10-11-2 overall but 8-4 in the Ocean League behind Templeton and Nipomo who each finished 9-3. The Greyhounds will now wait to see who they play in the first round of the CIF Central Section Division 2 playoffs which will be announced over the weekend.
The Hounds are currently ranked 10th according to MaxPreps.com and expect to be on the road Tuesday for the opening round. Check back on Atascaderonews.com/sports on Monday to find out who Atascadero will play.