Saddleback advances in regionals thanks to Zamora's heroics
The ball curled slowly toward the goal line Monday at Santa Ana Stadium as Saddleback's Ivan Zamora laid on the field after making a one-handed diving save to stop a South Torrance penalty kick.
For the next few seconds, the ball weaved in front of the goal. Just as it seemed ready to roll in, Zamora crawled to his feet and pounced on top of it, wrapping it in his arms with about an inch to spare.
Zamora turned away one more Spartans penalty kick after the teams played to a scoreless tie in the first round of the CIF Division 2 Southern California Regionals, and the Roadrunners advanced into Wednesday semifinals on PKs, 4-3.
The Roadrunners will play host to San Jacinto in a rematch of Saturday's CIF-SS Division 5 championship match, which Saddleback won, 4-1.
"He has been huge when we needed him. He has been marvelous the entire playoffs," Saddleback coach Mel Silva said of Zamora. "The last stretch of season, he just was lights out."
That goes for Monday's game, too. He finished with five saves, including one off a point-blank shot from Spartans junior midfielder Matthew Michell in the 62nd minute.
This is the second time during the playoffs that Zamora has helped the Roadrunners advance on penalty kicks.
"This is a dream," Zamora said. "This is my last year, so I want to make it all of the way.
Danny Vasquez, Garry Carbajal, Mario Ramirez and Eder Gonzalez each converted their penalty kicks for the Roadrunners.
In the second half of the Division 5 championship match, Carbajal banged heads with two other players and went to the hospital with a concussion.
Silva said Carbajal is doing fine, but he still hasn't been cleared for contact. The four-year varsity player is scheduled to be examined Wednesday.
"It was a little hard for them to get going and get up for the game when they are missing their captain," Silva said. "We were tight in the beginning, but once we got going, it was OK. We started to get into the flow of the game, and they started to realize we can do this."
The Roadrunners, mainly Guerrero, Oscar Sandoval and Vasquez, seemed to have no trouble finding space in the final third. Vasquez drilled a shot off the crossbar. Guerrero just missed knocking in a rebound. In the 48th minute, Sandoval's shot to the far post hit the fingertips of Andrew Perius for one of his four second-half saves.
In another Division 2 regional:
Servite 4, University City of San Diego 1: Mike Wolitski, Elijah Barajas, Daniel Munoz and Joseph Gober each scored a goal for the visiting Friars, who will face Canoga Park in the semifinals on Wednesday.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org