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Nicklaw, Ochoa get hat tricks in first half of 6-0 rout

Fernando Ochoa (11) and Kyle Nicklaw had lots to celebrate as both scored hat tricks in the first half of a 6-0 victory over East L.A. (Photo by Ken Sciallo/Sevilla Photography)
Fernando Ochoa (11) and Kyle Nicklaw had lots to celebrate as both scored hat tricks in the first half of a 6-0 victory over East L.A. (Photo by Ken Sciallo/Sevilla Photography)

Kyle Nicklaw and Fernando Ochoa pulled off a rare feat on Tuesday night with both getting hat tricks in the first half as No. 20 SBCC routed East Los Angeles 6-0 in a men's soccer game at La Playa Stadium.

Nicklaw and Ochoa didn't have a goal or assist in the Vaqueros' first five games. SBCC had only scored six goals all year and they pounded in six in the first 45 minutes on Tuesday.

Ochoa, a freshman from Dos Pueblos High, took a short pass from Christopher Robinson and ripped in a 20-yard shot with his left foot at 15:18. In the 32nd minute, Nicklaw ran onto a long pass from Alexander Foy and beat the keeper to the left to make it 2-0.

Nicklaw found the net again just three minutes later, taking a pass from Jonas Romero, and scoring at 35:05. Rene Sanchez was called for a hand ball in the box and Nicklaw crushed a penalty kick into the upper right at 39:36 for a 4-0 lead.

Nicklaw, a freshman from Crespi High in Encino, produced a natural hat trick in just 7 minutes, 36 seconds.

"I was feeling a little frustrated early in the game when I got those two offsides and missed an easy one right in front of the box," said Nicklaw. "Honestly, it feels really good to be able to finally start capitalizing for the team. It's going to be good going forward.

"We've been relying on Chris (Robinson) to run down the line and put in a lot of goals. Recently in training, Christy (Gates-Bowes) has been putting the team together really well in terms of the formation, building up and getting a lot more of us in play up top."

Ochoa notched his second goal at 41:30 after another assist from Romero. In the last minute of the first half, Robinson was knocked down in the box by Christian Carranza. Ochoa's left-footed PK went right up the middle to complete his hat trick.

"We really focused on scoring goals tonight and we kept putting them in the back of the net," said Ochoa. "We played well in both halves."

Santa Barbara emptied its bench in the second half with 11 substitutes, including backup goalie Patrick Mahon in the 77th minute. Mahon made a couple of strong saves and ended up with four saves in just 14 minutes of action. Sycamore Mitchell played the first 76 minutes in goal and hasn't allowed a goal in 166 minutes while making his first two starts of the season.

The Vaqueros outshot the Huskies 14-3 in the first half with 12 shots on-goal. For the game, SBCC took 20 shots and 16 were on target. ELAC finished with 11 shots and six on-goal.

"We didn't do anything differently, it was more of the same," said Gates-Bowes, who's in his second season as John Sisterson's top assistant. "This group has really bought in and everyone's on the same page. You saw that in the second half when we made 11 changes and the style of play remained the same.

"We were aggressive defensively, we pressed them really high up the field and we were patient with the possession. Our movement was a lot better than it was against Glendale."

Gates-Bowes was asked when was the last time he'd seen two hat tricks in one half.

"I don't know that I have," he said. "Kyle and Fernando played great. They both work so hard, they really deserve this. I knew once we got that first goal, the floodgates would open."

It was the second straight shutout by the Vaqueros and their third of the year. They've only allowed four goals in six games.

The Vaqueros return to action on Friday at Canyons with kickoff at 5:30 p.m.

Fernando Ochoa, a freshman from Dos Pueblos High, gets his hat trick on a left-footed PK
in the 42nd minute. (Photo by Ken Sciallo/Sevilla Photography)