Lincoln defeats Vista del Lago to reach finals

Zebras eliminate Oakdale
By: Jim Linsdau of The News Messenger
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After defeating Oakdale Thursday, the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III runners-up last year and champions two years ago, the Lincoln High boys soccer team was scheduled to travel to Folsom to play Vista del Lago in this year’s playoff semifinals Tuesday.

The Folsom Telegraph reported Tuesday afternoon that the Fighting Zebras beat the Eagles 1-0 (see story: Lincoln earns 1-0 win over Vista in Division II soccer semis, by Matt Long/Folsom Telegraph).

The championship will be 2 p.m. Saturday against No. 5 Central Valley at Cosumnes High School.

“I think this time we’re going to have a full team. When we played them the last time we were missing a couple of key players,” Lincoln head coach George Bonilla said in anticipation of Tuesday’s match against Vista. “Now we’re playing a lot better and more as a unit, and a little bit tougher defense than we did initially in the preseason. I like our chances.”

Against Oakdale, Lincoln jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and then held on to defeat the Mustangs 2-1.

“I knew that two years in a row they’ve been to the CIF finals; two years ago they won it, last year they were runners-up. So I knew we were going to face a really tough team,” said Bonilla. So my strategy was to find out who their strongest players were. On paper it’s hard to feel it out, but as soon as the game started we were able to find who their go-to players were and we started marking them tight.”

The Zebras’ defense virtually hobbled the Mustangs, who had 16 seniors on their squad. Lincoln was missing Julian Diaz, but the senior was expected to return to the lineup for Tuesday’s match.

The Zebras scored their first goal against Oakdale when Adrian Hoyos took a ricochet off the Mustangs’ goal and fired it back into the net at 35:50 of the first period.

The second goal came off the foot of James Weston just three minutes later. Weston launched a 30-yard free kick into the upper right-hand corner of Oakdale’s net to put Lincoln up 2-0.

From that point on it was solid defense. However, the Mustangs scored at the 7:45 mark when a free kick crossed the goal during a scramble in front of Lincoln’s net.

“Our strategy all year has been to limit (opponents) to zero shots. Unfortunately today, it was where they had a few shots in the first half,” said Bonilla. “In the second half, they had probably about two or three shots. I think the last one was their first shot on goal, but they weren’t really hurting us on goal.”