Junior midfielder Kian Lonergan dribbles the ball on the field. The varsity boys’ soccer team crumbled to the Balboa Buccaneers 2–0 on March 1. Photo by Christina Johnson
The varsity boys’ soccer team stepped onto the field in poor condition because they were nervous about their last shot at the championships. Their gut feelings were right, as they fell to the Balboa Buccaneers 2–0 in the semi-finals on March 1.
The Cardinals started off the game defensively weak and strategically unaligned, losing two points to the Buccaneers within the first ten minutes of the first half of the game. To recover, the Cardinals planned to score by passing the ball between the wingers and the center midfielders, according to senior midfielder and captain Nicholas Kaliss. The plan was ineffective as the Buccaneers’ aggressive center and defensive players controlled its side of the field. Unable to progress towards the Buccaneers’ net, the Cardinals ended the first half of the game down 2–0.
Junior midfielder Paul Lichtmacher kicks the ball. Photo by Christina Johnson
In the second half, the Cardinals tried to get past the Buccaneers’ defense but failed due to the lack of support from the forwards. Just as the Cardinals advanced to the center of the field, senior forward Cian O’Dwyer did not have any other players supporting him as the Cardinal midfielders were preoccupied with blocking the Buccaneers’ offense. The Cardinals began to show progress in the halfway point of the second half, effectively utilizing their center midfielders to break through the Buccaneers defense. Despite their hard efforts to reach the net, the Cardinals’ shots were blocked by the Buccaneers’ goalie. The goalie blocked all of the Cardinals’ shots and penalty kicks, displaying the skilled Buccaneers defense. The Cardinals ended the game without scoring any goals, leaving the second half and the season 2–0.
“We got a lot of good players but we just couldn’t get it together.”
Looking back on the whole season, the team had struggled to unite and maintain composure during games. Despite showing numerous wins throughout the season, head coach Juan Lopez explained how the team struggled to utilize and unite their strong, strategic players. “We got a lot of good players but we just couldn’t get it together,” Lopez said. Also, the team had struggled to make accurate and smart passes during practices and games, according to junior midfielder Razmig Makasdjian.
Head coach Juan Lopez motivates the team during halftime. Photo by Christina Johnson
Despite multiple losses in the beginning of the season, the team began to show continuous winning streaks throughout the season, demonstrating the team’s improvement. “I think we have gone a long way this season,” Kaliss said. “We started out pretty destroyed, and we weren’t together as a team. But, we ended up getting second seat.”