Most Viewed Stories
Live Oak boys advance in soccer playoffs
Things are becoming eerily familiar to Live Oak High boys soccer coach Mike Owen.
To win the Northern Section Division II championship, the Lions will need to repeat the exact same formula they followed in 2008's banner season: Overcome a season-ending losing streak, win two playoff road games against higher seeds and ride on the shoulders of Hector Cibrian.
Phase I complete.
Cibrian tallied a hat trick, freshman Salvador Vargas had a two-goal afternoon and No. 4 Live Oak trounced No. 5 Anderson 6-0 in round one of postseason play at Live Oak High on Thursday.
Live Oak's blitzkrieg style of play forced Anderson back on defense, keeping the Cubs on their heels for most of the afternoon without much of an offensive threat.
Cibrian scored in only the second minute of play off an assist from Xavier Lopez and Vargas scored minutes later on a corner assist from Pedro Valencia.
Live Oak (17-3-1) shot seven times in the first half and made five of them, despite dealing with a healthy gust of wind that enveloped the pitch and a saturated field.
Owen was happy with how his team responded after losing the final two games of the regular season and failing to capture the league title.
"More than anything else, it was us wanting to come out mentally prepared," Owen said. "To come out strong offensively, play some good defense, especially from the get-go, was a morale booster for us and that carried over the rest of the game."
And he hopes it carries over to their semi-final match with Orland (17-1-1) on Tuesday.
Orland was the team Live Oak beat on the road in the 2008 section championship game and the Trojans are once again the No. 1 seed.
The Lions seem a little more comfortable outside of Sutter County though. Live Oak's two losses at the end of the season were at home, but the Lions are 9-0 on the road this season.
"We'll look at Tuesday's game first and that's all we're concerned with," Owen said. "We need to play better than we did today if we want to beat Orland on Tuesday. They are very, very good."
Live Oak led 5-0 at the half on Tuesday, though couldn't muster much of anything in the second half, only capitalizing on 1 of 9 shots, though Owen said that may have been due to field conditions, especially with the enormous puddle of mud in front of Anderson's goal.
As a freshman in 2008, Cibrian led the Lions with 15 goals scored and has almost tripled that as a senior with 40 this season.
After ending league play in disappointment, he took it upon himself to let his teammates know that they still had plenty to play for.
He doesn't want deja vu; he wants to repeat history.
"It's nice to pick it up after the last two losses and losing league," Cibrian said. "This isn't it though. It's not over yet."