As the ball hit the back of the net off the feet of Logan Eberle ’15, the Chargers Boys Soccer team celebrated a goal that would soon lead to their first league victory. Decisive wins over teams like Gunn, Sequoia and South San Francisco have given the Chargers an intimidating 3-2-1 preseason record that distinguishes them from most of their competitors.
“We have come into the season very focused with a group of skilled players. We are probably one of the better teams in our league,” Justin Safier ’16 said.
The Chargers’ dominant performance carried on to the regular season where the team responded well to the pressure of their first league game. In a matchup against a competitive Prospect High team, the boys showed their prowess with a 1-0 win at home. The offense capitalized on Eberle’s opportunity early in the game and even had a near “bicycle kick” goal by Gannon Eberle ’16 along with opportunities from striker Neil Bhagat ’15. The defense, led by centre-backs Nick Pavich ’15 and Jack Newton ’15, also played an integral part in the victory. With help from defensive midfielders Trevor Sochocki ’16 and Nathan Engstrom ’15, the team completely shut down the Panther offense and did not let them near goalie John Laughlin ’15.
However, while the team thrives in high-pressure situations, they also have some room for improvement. A rough preseason loss to Sequoia High and two tied games to Santa Clara and Fremont were the minor flaws in the school’s preseason dominance.
“Our defense has been playing very well; it’s actually one of the best defenses in the league. Our offense has been a little slow to take effect this season, and both our offense and midfield need to capitalize on the chances we have been given so far. In our first game, the defense played a huge part in our victory and really held our team together,” Parshawn Behestian ‘15 said.
Although early in the season, the Chargers already have high hopes for the rest of their year. The team is ready to show the league that their preseason was not a fluke and instead a sign of things to come. They have a strong roster, filled with players who display athleticism and depth needed to compete with league opponents, the Chargers are determined to build upon and surpass last year’s performance, in which they went 9-3-8. With this on the player’s minds’, expectations are rising at Pat Tillman Stadium. As the Blossom Valley Athletic League (BVAL) and the Central Coast Section (CCS) tournaments loom in the distance, the team is working hard to mend their flaws and heighten their strengths through team bonding. A recent pasta night at Head Coach Daniel Minutillo ’s house was a fitting celebratory dinner for the first league victory the previous day.
The team is talented, conditioned and confident that their efforts will prepare them for the challenges that they will face in the season.
“We were told that Prospect High was going to be our biggest challenge in the league, so our win over them is a very good indicator of our team’s future success,” Safier said.