Playing their first home game in the CIF Southern Section boys' soccer playoffs Thursday, the Laguna Beach High Breakers made sure their postseason opener against Santa Monica Crossroads would be one to remember.
Laguna and Crossroads battled to a 2-2 tie in regulation play, and that score stood through overtime. The Division 5 first-round match was to be decided by shootout and it was the Breakers, who were able to emerge by outscoring the Roadrunners, 4-2, on penalty kicks.
Chris Tellez, Jake Hexberg, Harrison Gregory and Zach Jacobs converted penalty kicks for Laguna in the shootout. It was Jacobs' kick that sealed the win.
Crossroads, the No. 2 team from the Alpha League, missed its first penalty kick attempt, and Breakers' goalie Dante Amodeo came up with a stop on the Roadrunners' fourth attempt.
Amodeo finished with five saves.
The win sends Laguna, the No. 2 team from the Orange Coast League, on to a second-round game on Tuesday. The 10th-ranked Breakers (10-6-4) will play at Valle Vista League champion and seventh-ranked Baldwin Park.
"You could definitely tell this was a playoff game," Laguna Coach Dan Richards said. "It was the first time that any of our players have played a home game in CIF and I'm sure they learned a lot from it. There was a great crowd and the whole program really appreciates the community coming out to support us.
"The result was always going to be the most important thing and getting to the next round is great for the lads."
Laguna took a 1-0 halftime lead, the goal coming off a deflection into the Crossroads cage by a Roadrunners player after a cross by Tellez.
"The boys started brightly and played our best stuff during the first 20 minutes or so," Richards said. "Chris Tellez got in behind and put in a dangerous ball that was deflected into the Crossroads net. Crossroads definitely upped their game and started to ask some real questions of our back line. Rory [Saunders and Jake [Hexberg] were terrific for us in the middle along with Dante [Amodeo] throughout the game."
Mike Santana scored Laguna's second goal at the outset of the final half.
"Mike finished very calmly at the start of the second half after great work by Tellez down the line to give us a two-goal lead," Richards said. "Crossroads then piled on the pressure and showed why they have been ranked this season and made the quarterfinals last season. Their first goal was a little disappointing on our end but there was nothing we could do about the equalizer with six minutes to go.
"The team rallied well to play hard through overtime despite the obvious disappointment of giving the lead up so late in the game. Dante [Amodeo] made a couple of huge saves for us again to take the game to penalty kicks. "It showed real character by all the players from both teams to step up and take a penalty kick. All of our boys converted and looked very composed doing so. We know Dante is hard to beat from the spot and we always confident he would get us at least one stop."
Breakers win CIF girls' basketball opener
Laguna Beach 66, Archer 59
The host Breakers withstood a standout performance by Los Angeles Archer point guard Maia Barnett to win the CIF Southern Section Division 4A opener Thursday at Dugger Gym.
Laguna Coach Mark Lewis called Barnett "one of the best points guards" his team has seen this year. Archer's leader in scoring, rebounding and assists, she hit seven three-point shots, was 14 of 15 from the free-throw line, and poured in a game-high 41 points.
Lewis and the Breakers made adjustments at halftime to overcome a five-point deficit. The Breakers' balanced offensive attack was able to overcome Barnett and allowed them to open up a double-digit lead late in the fourth quarter.