Girls’ soccer season ends with CCS rules violation, four forfeitures

Signs like this one posted around the Paly campus offered the girls team encouragement for CCS. However, now that the team has violated a CCS regulation the Vikes season is over.

Scotty Bara

Signs like this one posted around the Paly campus offered the girls team encouragement for CCS. However, now that the team has violated a CCS regulation the Vikes’ season is over.

The Paly girls’ soccer team received the decision Thursday afternoon that it would be disqualified from Central Coast Section (CCS) play for a rules violation and must forfeit its past four victories, including a 5-0 first round CCS playoff victory over San Benito on Wednesday.

Defender Jacey Pederson (‘16) participated in a national training camp held by the U.S. Soccer Federation during the season which had not been sanctioned by CCS, making her ineligible and thus forcing the Vikings to forfeit every game she had since played in following the camp, according to principal Phil Winston in an email to players and parents. Vice principal Kathy Laurence declined to comment.

After being relegated to the El Camino division of the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) following a disappointing 2011-2012 season, the team went 11-0-1 in league play this season, winning its league and garnering the 6th seed in the Division I championship. A victory in the first round of the championship tournament was the team’s first CCS win in 3 years. The Vikings were scheduled to face the third-seeded Los Gatos High School Wildcats in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

Alyssa Maharaj (’14) dribbles past Lynbrook defenders before taking a shot. The Vikings went on to win 4-0.

It is unclear at this point whether the forfeitures will affect the team’s hope of moving back up to the De Anza division of SCVAL next season.

Players, parents and coaches expressed their disappointment with the ruling, which was delivered to coaches Kurt Devlin and Eric Seedman on Thursday afternoon. The team was notified of its disqualification at practice later that day.

“We were devastated,” midfielder Megan Tall (‘14) said. “We’ve come so close and we had a chance at CCS, so it’s just disappointing.”

“It’s really a matter of forms that weren’t filled out by the US Soccer Federation [that] didn’t meet a time requirement for the CIF, so it’s really just a battle between the two soccer organizations,” midfielder Katie Foug (‘15) said.

In an email to CCS commissioner Nancy Lazenby Blaser, team parent Hiromi Kelty expressed her dismay with the ruling, citing the fact that the team is being punished due to no fault of its own.

“The girls were told to suffer the consequences of some adult not filing proper paperwork in time, some adult not communicating clearly, some adult not understanding CCS rules,” Kelty wrote in the email. “I understand that CIF/CCS rules are in place to protect student-athletes and promote sportsmanship, but it pains me when these same rules punish innocent kids.”

Ineligible players on sports teams have plagued Paly athletics in the past, raising concerns over what precautions can be made to prevent future issues with ineligibility.

Just last spring, the Paly girls’ lacrosse team experienced a similar disappointment when it was forced to forfeit all regular season games in which it fielded an ineligible player, dashing its playoff hopes. Julia Farino (‘13), who had transferred from Menlo-Atherton High School, lacked the required residency form which would legally allow her to compete for Paly.

Five years ago, during the 2007-2008 season, the boys’ basketball team was forced to forfeit 15 games due to the ineligibility of Ed Hall (‘07), who was discovered to have already completed eight semesters of high school, rendering him ineligible for competition under CCS Bylaw Article 20:204.

Despite the disappointing news, the team is proud of what it accomplished this season.

“It’s obviously a horrible situation, but we’re really really close as a team so we’ll definitely get through it,” defender Julia Kwasnick (‘14) said. “We all know that we played awesomely this season.”