Following last year’s defeat in the first round of Central Coast Section (CCS), boys varsity soccer looks to avoid repeating history in its new season.
“We’re going into the season wanting to finish first in league and make it through to CCS,” said senior Matt Knowles in an online message. “Our team has lost in the first round each of the last few years, so those losses are fresh on our minds.”
According to Knowles, the team also hopes to win its games against its biggest rival, Los Gatos.
“They always play us strong every year, but those games usually get personal, and there is nothing more satisfying than beating them,” Knowles said.
To achieve these goals and prepare for the rest of the season, the team has been training rigorously.
“We’ve been working really hard in practice to go over the basics for how we want to play this season,” Knowles said. “We also strive to practice with the same mentality as if it were a game, and I think that’s really translated well in our preseason games so far. […] We’ve been very organized in games, and everyone knows what their specific jobs are, which really comes down to our preparation in practice.”
The team had its first preseason game against Mountain View High School on Nov. 20 and lost 1-0 but many of the players couldn’t compete due to club obligations.
The team later won 10-0 against Milpitas High School in home non-conference game and 2-0 against North Monterey County High School in a tournament game.
“We were going up against a team that we knew were really good, and we could see that immediately, but we didn’t let it affect our game strategy, and we just kept pushing until finally we were able to break the deadlock late in the game.”
The team also won its most recent game at home against Menlo-Atherton High School 1-0.
“Right now, we’re a young team,” said varsity coach Don Briggs. “We only have a couple of returning seniors, three of them. Right now we’re just trying to get better and improve.Luckily we’re able to compensate for them.”
According to Knowles, the loss of the senior players from last year, including several from the starting lineup, has been a challenge for the team.
“We lost a really strong senior class last year which included seven starters, so that is going to be difficult to cope with,” Knowles said. “But I think the guys we have this year have really stepped up into those roles, and I’m encouraged by the tough mentality some of the underclassmen have been showing.”
The varsity team will face off against Homestead High School on Dec. 9.The junior varsity team won 4-0 against Mountain View in an away non-conference game and went on to beat Milpitas 4-0 at home. It also won 3-0 against Westmoor High School, but lost 2-0 against MA.