When the score got tight and the match got physical Tuesday night in Santa Barbara, Ross Greaney had 14 reasons to believe.
"You don't go to Santa Barbara and get a win unless you have experienced guys who know what they're getting into," said the Oxnard College men's soccer coach.
Behind 14 sophomores, including seven returning starters and four starters from previous seasons, the experienced Condors opened the defense of the Western State Conference title with a clear statement of intent.
"It's definitely the most sophomores in the history of the program," said Greaney.
Goals by Urbano Centeno and Sigifredo Torres on either side of halftime pushed Oxnard to a 2-1 win over Santa Barbara City, the No. 9-ranked team in the nation, under the lights at La Playa Stadium.
"It was a clash of two styles," said Greaney. "They're a very physical team, thankfully we were able to get ahold of the ball and do something with it... It wasn't easy."
A pair of Channel Islands High products combined for the first goal. Sophomore central defender Salvador Mendoza carried the ball through midfield, moved it wide for Centeno, who cut inside to strike a curling shot inside the far post.
Former Hueneme High star Gustavo Navarro created the second goal by racing down the wing and finding Torres, a Pacifica High product, atop the penalty area to finish. Santa Barbara used a late own goal off a corner kick to pile on the pressure, but the Condors survived.
"I wasn't surprised by the way we played," said Greaney. "But I was just glad we were able to play under all that pressure."
The lineup reads like a Pacific View League All-Decade team, from attackers like Javier Marquez (Rio Mesa), Jerry Ponce (Rio Mesa), Jesus Landeros (Channel Islands) and Daniel Hernandez (Pacifica) to the central defense partnership of Mendoza and Dago Gonzalez (Hueneme).
Oxnard (5-1-2) has now won four straight matches by 2-1 margins. It has faced three nationally-ranked foes, suffering its only loss of the season 5-3 to No. 4 Cerritos.
"There's a long way to go," said Greaney.