By John Sherrard, Correspondent
SANTA ANA – The El Rancho High School boys soccer team still might be sprinting for joy after their dramatic playoff win Tuesday.
Senior forward Cristian Roldan was leading the charge the length of the field with his team in tow after scoring a golden goal in sudden-death overtime for a 3-2 semifinal victory at Century to send the Dons to their third consecutive CIF-Southern Section Division 3 title game.
Roldan, who has 53 goals this season, scored all three goals for the top-seeded Dons (25-2-1). They will face Channel Islands, which defeated Palmdale 5-4 on penalty kicks after a 2-2 tie in regulation. The CIF-SS office will announce the time and location of the game today.
“I was more relieved than anything,” El Rancho coach Dominic Picon said. “I didn’t want their season to be over and I know they wanted to avenge last year’s loss (in the CIF championship game).”
Roldan, headed to the University of Washington next season, scored on a set piece off a corner kick by senior midfielder Miguel Vilchis in the 87th minute. Vilchis had just re-entered the game after appearing to injure his leg early in overtime.
Roldan out-jumped the Century (14-10-4) defenders and headed the ball just inside the goal line.
From there, the 2012 Whittier Daily News Player of the Year was off to the races and sprinted almost 100 yards, much to the delight of a large contingent of El Rancho fans.