Boys’ soccer opens season with 2-game win streak

Hilda Huang, Business Manager

Boys’ soccer opened its season on a good note, with a 3-2 win against Los Gatos in the first home game of the season.

Today’s three goals along with the one in Saturday’s game against Oak Grove adds up to the same four goals scored all last season, setting the tone for an improved offense this season. These wins also serve as the first times Palo Alto has won in the last year and a half.

“It feels really good,” midfielder Alex Chin (’13) said. “It’s going to give us some good momentum going forward.”

After having suffered an entire season of losses and ties last year, the team has grown and bonded, creating a tight network of passes and communication. Five new players and their zeal to win has also pushed the team forward.

“Overall our team plays really hard, and generally we win 50-50’s, we win balls in the air, and we also have pretty good offense that has been pretty consistent with scoring,” Chin said.

New forward Chris Meredith (’13) scored two of the goals against Los Gatos and the one goal against Oak Grove on Saturday.

“Chris makes a big difference,” Chin said. “He wasn’t with us last year but this year he decided to play and has made a huge improvement on our offense.”

Palo Alto fell behind Gatos in the first half 2-1, but quickly scored two goals within the first 10 minutes of the second half. A Gatos foul gave Palo Alto’s Cina Vacir (’14) a penalty kick fifteen minutes into the second half. The Wildcats’ goalie caught the ball inadequately, and it slowly rolled in for Paly’s second goal of the game. Another penalty kick just three minutes later failed to find the goal, but Meredith’s quick reprieve sent a shot deep into the net for Paly’s third goal of the game.

Paul Stefanski (’13) attempted to bring Palo Alto’s season goal count to five, but his header flew just over the goal and later left the field with a yellow card after tackling a Wildcat in the air, trying to grab possession.

With only half an hour left in the game, the Vikings could have focused on defense but didn’t need to; they spent the remaining time with five failed shots and didn’t give Gatos possession for over a minute at a time.

Head coach Donald Briggs is pleased with the progress his team has made from last year to this year; only having graduated one senior, the team now doesn’t have to field five freshmen and sophomores on the field while the opposing team brings a team of juniors and seniors.

Preston Kuppe (’14) gets out ahead of two Los Gatos Wildcats. photo by Scotty Bara

“Last year was a lot of hard times and lot of work, we had a young team and only one senior; now it’s good because they need to experience success to build on their success,” Briggs said. “They do everything just a little better; they have a little bit more stamina, they’re a little bit bigger.”

Even with such an encouraging start to the season, Briggs doesn’t necessarily hold the bar too high, but rather focuses on improving his team every game. With enough wins and few losses, the team hopes to finally make it back into the De Anza Division in the Santa Clara Valley Athletics League.

“Every game’s a new game- you can’t live on the past and you can’t die on the past either you just gotta look at each game as a new challenge. We just gotta try to get better each time we get out here, and if we get better each time, wins kind of come along,” Briggs said.

Boys’ soccer plays next against Oak Grove on Thursday, Dec. 6 at Oak Grove.