Aptos High's Andrew Lopez (#22) celebrates with teammate Kaleb Plascencia (#7) after scoring the equalizer in the second overtime with seconds remaining against visiting Serra during the CCS Division II playoffs on Saturday, Feb 17. (Raul Ebio/The Pajaronian)

Aptos High senior Andrew Lopez-Rameño had a pair of goals on corner kicks, including the game-tying score in the second overtime period of last week’s Division II quarterfinals match against Serra High.

But it wasn’t enough as the No. 4 seed Mariners fell to the No. 5 Padres, 4-3, in a penalty kick shootout in the Division II quarterfinals on Feb. 17.

“We wanted it, but it wasn’t our day after taking five penalties from the mark,” Aptos coach Roberto Zuñiga said via text message. “After the game I made sure to let the boys know that they should hold their heads up high after a great season.”

Senior Carlos Gutierrez had one goal and two assists, while fellow teammate Kaleb Plascencia notched Aptos’ first goal in the 17th minute.

The score was tied at 2-all at the end of regulation. 

Damian Garcia found Gutierrez for a goal in the first overtime period. Lopez then tied the score at 4-4 on a header that found the back of the net in the 100th minute. The assist was credited to senior Eddie Alvarez. 

“Overall, I’m very happy with this season’s performance,” Zuñiga said. 

Aptos was runner-up in the Homestead Christmas Cup silver division, captured the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League title and played a solid 100 minutes in the CCS D-II quarterfinal against a strong team out of the West Catholic Athletic League.  

“I couldn’t have asked for more from this great group of guys that left it all on the pitch today,” said Zuñiga following Saturday’s loss. “I’m happy with our run this season and feel great to be the head coach, and to have a very supportive coaching staff to work with such talented and committed players.”

The Mariners finished with a 14-3-3 overall record and went 8-1-1 in SCCAL action this season.

Girls soccer

Leland 1, at Aptos 1 (5-4 PKs): The No. 7 seed Mariners lost a heartbreaker in a penalty kick shootout to the No. 2 Chargers in the CCS D-II quarterfinals on Feb. 17.

Aptos senior Angelique Nunez scored a goal in the 49th minute that tied the score at 1-1 before the game went into two scoreless 10-minute overtime periods. Sophomore Alexa Castañeda was credited with the assist.

“The girls played amazing, we had opportunities and [Leland] had opportunities,” Aptos coach Gina Castañeda said.

The Mariners lost a pair of key players during the match due to injury starting with Scarlete Stateler left the game after a Leland defender slide tackled Statler and popped her ankle.

Aptos’ leading scorer Isabella Hartnett was ruled out with a concussion after the same Leland player slide tackled Hartnett, forcing her to fly in the air and hit her head on the ground. Hartnett was taken to the hospital after she began throwing up and had trouble breathing.

“Super proud of the girls for staying composed,” Castañeda said. “I don’t see how you have that many girls taken out and [Leland’s player] is not warned.”

Later in the match, a Leland player grabbed senior Ella Shoemaker by the jersey to pull her down and then proceeded to shove Shoemaker afterward.

Shoemaker responded with a shove and she received a yellow card for retaliating, forcing her to be taken off the field. 

“That’s the kind of physicality it was,” Castañeda said. 

Goalkeeper Alessandra Zuñiga recorded seven saves for Aptos, which finished with a 15-3-3 overall record. They captured back-to-back SCCAL titles by going 9-0-1 in league action this season. 

“I would say that it was a very special season,” Castañeda said. “Just watching the girls come together and grow individually. Every game we got better and better. It’s a bummer to lose the way they did. I’m proud of the girls and everything they did on the field.” 

At Alvarez 4, Pajaro Valley 1: Angie Zamora scored twice for the No. 1 seed Eagles in their win over the No. 8 Grizzlies in the CCS D-IV quarterfinals on Feb. 17.

Pajaro Valley finished with a 10-6-3 overall record and was runner-up in the Pacific Coast Athletic League Mission Division with an 8-1-3 record in league play this season. 

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A Watsonville native who has a passion for local sports and loves his community. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College, San Jose State University and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumnus, he primarily covers high school athletics, Cabrillo College athletics, various youth sports in the Pajaro Valley and the Santa Cruz Warriors. Juan is also a video game enthusiast, part-time chef (at home), explorer and a sports junkie. Coaches and athletic directors are encouraged to report scores HERE.


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