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A man down, Granite Bay hangs on to beat West in DI soccer quarterfinals

By: Brett Ransford
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GRANITE BAY — Two goals by junior forward Felipe Zegarra advanced Granite Bay High School past Tracy-West 2-1 on Thursday and into the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I boys soccer semifinals.

The second-seeded Grizzlies (19-3-1) will be hosts to No. 6 Davis (14-4-5) at 3 p.m. Wednesday. Granite Bay beat the Blue Devils 1-0 on Sept. 5. Davis has beaten No. 11 Napa 6-0 and No. 3 McClatchy 2-1.

Granite Bay waited little more than 50 seconds before J.C. Nichols and Zegarra combined for a goal. Zegarra struck again in the 49th minute. A misplayed ball led to a goal in the 54th minute and kept seventh-seeded West alive.

This is Granite Bay’s first postseason in Division I since 2005. The Grizzlies lost in the first round that year, but the Sierra Foothill League champions are 2-0 in these playoffs.

“I have to just give it up to intensity. I gave it my all,” Zegarra said. “I’m ready to get the first DI championship, but we have to practice a lot more.”

The last 20 minutes was a challenge for the home squad. A red card issued to Matthew Fisher forced Granite Bay to hold its one-goal lead playing a man down.

“(Losing Fisher) is like losing a lot of the midfield,” Zegarra said. “We’ve got to make it work.”

Goalkeeper Andrew Erbland, and his six saves in the second half, helped make up for the absent player.

“We definitely had to communicate a lot more after we got the red card,” Erbland said. “We didn’t have much of an attack at that point because we needed guys back, but we found ways to counter.”

Granite Bay advanced to four Division II finals in six years after rejoining the SFL, winning three. This is the fifth time in seven years the Grizzlies have advanced past the second round.

In another quarterfinal, No. 8 Woodcreek (9-7-1) lost to No. 1 Jesuit 5-0. The Marauders (25-1-1), ranked No. 1 in the state by maxpreps.com, will play host to Merced on Wednesday. The Bears have taken out No. 5 Modesto 1-0 and No. 4 Armijo 5-1.