The Carpinteria High School boys soccer team opened its season on Wednesday, Nov. 20, hosting Division Three Rio Mesa, who bested the Warriors 4-1.
“We had positive moments throughout the game and stayed in the fight. We will continue to train hard to take a step forward,” said Warriors coach Leo Quintero.
The Spartans, on the other hand, went on to win their next game as well, taking on Santa Clara, and landing at 3-0 on the year.
Meanwhile, the Warriors were tested again at their next game, when Division Two Channel Islands came to town and walked away with an 8-2 victory.
Nevertheless, Carpinteria got off to a good start in the opener, drawing a yellow card on their opponent. But Enrique Guttierez’ effort on the free kick sailed high. Moments later, Luis Garcia arced one from the left corner that hit the side of the net. Steven Zermeno may have had the best opportunity for an early score when he was able to pick up a loose ball near the area, but his shot curved just wide right keeping the game scoreless.
Rio Mesa cashed in on one of their early bids at goal when Johan Virgin-Rubalcala got his foot on a fine cross and buried the ball into the back of the net, putting the Spartans up 1-0 near the 18-minute mark. A few minutes later, the Warriors had another great chance when Vincent Rinaldi’s header off a stellar pass from Isaac Benitez landed right into the awaiting arms of the visitor’s goalkeeper. At the 25-minute mark, Rio Mesa’s Arturo Gonzalez picked up another goal off a rebound to put his team up two-nil.
On the play, Carpinteria keeper Brian Garcia came off the pitch with a lower back injury when he deflected the ball, diving near the right post. “A blow like that (Garcia’s injury) does sort of bring the morale down a little bit, when your starting goalkeeper goes out, things sort of get disrupted a bit,” said Warriors coach Leo Quintero. Senior keeper David Celio came in for the injured sophomore and held Rio Mesa in check, as the two teams went into halftime with the Spartans still up 2-0.
Carpinteria came out aggressively in the second half, drawing a red and yellow card in the early going. But it was once again the Spartans who got back on the scoreboard, picking up a loose ball in the area and converting it into a goal around the 61st minute mark for a 3-0 lead.
The Warriors eventually got on the scoreboard 68 minutes in, when they drew a “hands” penalty in the area and Christian Flores knocked home the penalty kick to make it, 3-1.
Rio Mesa tallied one more on a penalty kick near the end of the match, put in by Jeff Nava to close out the scoring. Celio had six saves, filling in nicely. “Today, I believe our boys showed some positives, and obviously some other stuff that we need to work on,” explained Quintero.
On Friday, Carpinteria was unable to keep up with the Pirates. Christian Flores picked up his second goal in as many games, and first-year varsity player Joaquin Gonzalez also registered a goal. Garcia returned in goal and shared time with Celio, combining to make 15 saves on the evening. “The reason why we schedule these types of games (against higher division teams) is to see what were made of early in the season,” said Quintero. The Warriors next travel to Goleta to take on Dos Pueblos in a Dec. 2 matchup.