This Saturday, February 19th, the boys’ soccer team beat the Aptos Mariners 2-0 in the first round of their CCS playoffs. The Bears came in as the number one seed while the Mariners were the eighth seed.
Junior Cameron Leung summed up the game by saying, “Since we are the one seed we were expected to win; it just feels good to go out and take care of business. Hopefully we can keep the momentum going on Wednesday.”
Shortly after kickoff, M-A had an early chance to score, instantly putting the pressure on Aptos. The Bears continued on the attack, but had two offsides in just the first 10 minutes.
As the half progressed, the Bears continued to apply pressure with multiple near goals, until finally senior Dash Franklin took his opportunity by firing a volley from 25 yards out into the top right corner. This goal put the Bears in the lead with 22 minutes left in the first half.
As the half came to a close, Aptos started to create opportunities on the attack. With just 6:30 left on the clock, sophomore defender Noah De Haaff had a massive block that maintained M-A’s lead going into halftime.
The Bears continued to bring energy to the game and pressure Aptos. The Bears had a massive chance on the attacking front with a narrowly missed header shortly after the start of the second half
Soon after, Aptos had a promising attack, but De Haaff denied it once again with a goal line clearance that preserved M-A’s lead.
The pressure the Bears applied to Aptos proved to be too much to handle, as a player on the Aptos team accidentally scored an own goal after a cross from the Bears’ senior captain Ntsika Mtwa. The 2-0 lead gave the Bears more confidence and time.
The Bears continued to have good possession and dominated the rest of the game. They stayed on the attacking front, forcing Aptos to make big saves all the way until the final minute.
With just five minutes left, the Aptos goalie touched the ball with his hands outside of the box, earning himself an immediate red card that essentially ended the game, as the Mariners had to continue with just 10 players.
In addition to the red card, the Bears were rewarded with a free kick just outside the box against the field player who was forced to be backup goalie. He made a great save, however, denying M-A a third goal.
In the last minute, M-A sprung another great counter attack that resulted in the goalkeeper slide tackling an M-A forward and getting a yellow card. Shortly after, the final whistle blew, with M-A winning 2-0.
After the game, De Haaff said, “I think we played really well today. We possessed effectively and created a lot of problems for their defense. It was just another game for us, another opportunity to grow—and I feel like we did.”
Freshman Nicolas Cortez-Reyes added, “The highlight of the game was undoubtedly Dash’s goal; that was the best goal I have ever seen in my entire life.”
M-A will return to the pitch on Thursday at 3 pm to play Santa Clara High School. After M-A’s previous loss against the Bruins, the Bears are ready for a rematch. Cortez-Reyes said, “I think we are all ready to try and get revenge on Santa Clara; I can’t wait.”