he MVHS players warmed up on a cold January afternoon, with the temperature only dropping as the game went on. There were few in the stands, mostly parents, and a good half of them were supporting the Los Gatos HS Wildcats. On the pitch, the MVHS boys varsity soccer team was trying to get a win against one of their conference opponents.
The team played LGHS in their fifth league game, hoping to get a win in conference play. They tried, but could not overcome the numerous injuries to their more experienced players and LGHS’ physically larger frontline. In the end, the game ended with the Matadors falling 4-1.
With LGHS being one of weaker teams in the league, MVHS expected to get the win despite many of their more experienced players being injured. Seniors Alex Dunn, Sassan Hashemi and Ori Lavi were out with injuries. The team felt that it would be difficult, but manageable, to get the win.
“I was expecting us to put up a good fight, [so]might have won, might have lost,” junior Aurum Kathuria said. “We felt it could have gone either way.”
The injuries forced players to play out of their normal positions, and the Matadors’ discomfort showed its face in the starting minutes of the game. LGHS opened up with a goal in the first five minutes, and the backline of MVHS just didn’t seem to have enough chemistry to handle the LGHS attack.
During the beginning of the first half, MVHS could not get the ball past midfield. But as time ticked on towards the halfway point, the Matadors were beginning to get some possessions and started attacking the visitors’ goal. Despite creating a few chances off the counterattack, MVHS’ defense broke down again in the 14th minute. Senior goalie Vincent Kao was forced to come out of the goal and, in turn, LGHS scored their second goal of the game, going up 2-0.
The second half opened similarly to the first, with LGHS coming out attacking and scoring their third goal off of a deflection a mere four minutes into the half. After the blitz, the Matador defense calmed down and was able to begin to keep possession of the ball. MVHS began to put pressure on the LGHS backline, and finally, they broke through with their first goal on a breakaway scored by sophomore Sean Crofut.
”It was a free ball for me, [and]my team did all the work for me”, said Crofut. “[Sophomore Soham Mukherjee] managed to get the ball around a defender and all I had to do was finish.”
With their first goal, MVHS continued to put pressure on the LGHS backline with Crofut leading the way. He broke away later in the half but was fouled hard. Crofut was injured on the play, and senior Nikash Narula came on to take the penalty. But Narula missed wide left, and MVHS had no more scoring opportunities after that. LGHS sealed the game by scoring with four minutes left in the game, ending the game with MVHS losing 1-4.
The team had some lessons that they could take away from their loss.
“The one big positive that came of this game was with the players that don’t have much experience got some,” senior Reuben Weaver said. “Now we can call upon those players knowing they now have more in game experience.”