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San Dieguito savors Open Division debut

02/24/2015, 10:48pm PST
By Ed Wehde, Special to the U-T

After a pair of crucial free kicks, Mustangs prevail in penalty kicks in win over Carlsbad

The San Diego Section soccer playoffs will conclude with the championships March 6-7.

— After never leading in regulation or overtime, host San Dieguito topped Carlsbad in penalty kicks 5-4 after the teams played to a 2-2 draw during regulation in the San Diego Section Open Division quarterfinals Tuesday.

“This is what the guys deserve,” Mustangs soccer coach Jesus Rico-Sanz said. “All the kids have put in tremendous effort. They deserve to experience this joy.”

When San Dieguito’s Owen Ereso hit the back of the net with the final PK, the fourth-seeded Mustangs (16-5-4), who are playing in the Open Division for the first time, advanced to face No. 1 Torrey Pines in the semifinals.

The No. 5 Lancers (17-4-6) twice took the lead — on a first-half goal by Collin Riccitelli and a second-half score by Joseph Kicko — only to be pegged back on a pair of set pieces.

Just two minutes after Carlsbad’s first goal, San Dieguito’s Robert Miller sent a long free kick into the box. After a mad scramble and a pair of point-blank saves by Lancers keeper Seth Ketterer, Ereso pounded a shot home from about 12 yards.

The Mustangs equalized a second time 10 minutes before the end of regulation when another long free kick from Miller went just over Ketterer’s hands and just under the cross bar.

“We talked all week about not giving up free kicks, and they put two goals in on free kicks,” Carlsbad coach Jeff Riccitelli said. “That’s what it came down to.”

After a scoreless overtime, each of the first four PK takers for each team found the net in the shootout. Carlsbad’s fifth shooter put his shot wide, setting up Ereso’s winner.

“The key was to keep believing,” Rico-Sanz said. “Believing all the way until the end.”

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