"It's been an incredible season, unprecedented,'' said Lancers coach Jeff Riccitelli, whose squad won the Open Division section title. "I couldn't be more proud of the guys. I told them afterward, 'Don't hang you heads.' ''
DOWNEY In a season that produced Carlsbad’s first San Diego Section boys soccer championship, standout goalkeeper Matt Deemer and his teammates also reached their first Southern California Regional final.
However, the Lancers’ magical postseason run ended in disappointment Saturday when top-seeded Los Angeles Loyola finished unbeaten with a 2-1 victory in Division I play at Warren High.
Sean Pleskow scored his second goal with three minutes left to decide matters. Until then, the teams had been scoreless since Carlsbad senior Ethan Cowling took advantage of a defensive misplay and charged to the goal to score 16 minutes before halftime.
“It’s just too hard to sum up,” said Deemer, a four-year varsity member and section Player of the Year, who was consoled by an opposing coach and player who approached him moments after the game ended.
As the sixth-seeded team, Carlsbad (20-5-3) competed as the underdog in all three of its regional playoff games. To reach the final, the Lancers prevailed in two road contests.
“It’s been an incredible season, unprecedented,” said Lancers coach Jeff Riccitelli, whose squad won the Open Division section title. “I couldn’t be more proud of the guys. I told them afterward, ‘Don’t hang you heads.’ ”
Pleskow converted on an extreme angle shot from near the right post to enable No. 1 Loyola (30-0-6) to prevail in its first final appearance.
Loyola opened the scoring in the ninth minute. Just two minutes later, Deemer made two of his five saves on close-range shots in rapid order.
Midway through the second half, the Lancers came close to scoring when the ball rattled around a crowd in front of the goal and went off a post. Otherwise, they couldn’t get a quality shot on goal in the half.