With rain on the way and the wind nearly blowing the team tent off the ground, several players on the MVHS girls soccer team were seen rubbing their hands together, hopping from leg to leg while waiting in line for their warm-up drills.
Just on the other end of the field was the Cupertino HS team, similarly trying to warm themselves up before the game.
On Jan. 24, the girls soccer team faced CHS in what was predicted as a victory for the Matadors, especially when considering CHS’ record. However, according to freshman Shriya Kaushik, the team captains continued to remind their players to not underestimate the CHS team. Going into the game, MVHS tried to score early in the game to ensure an easy win.
From the first half of the game, MVHS was clearly the dominant offensive team. The ball remained primarily on the side of the CHS goal, as the Matadors maintained their ball control, giving CHS few possessions. After a few shots that just missed the goal, sophomore Jaimie Chan received an easy pass and scored, the CHS goalie nowhere near saving the ball.
Throughout the rest of the game, MVHS moved faster up the field than its opponent, returning the ball to the offensive position and only allowing a couple scoring opportunities for CHS.
And only a few minutes after Chan’s goal, a long pass from senior Nanda Nayak found senior Sara Nordby, who slid through the defense and bumped up the score 2-0.
Going into halftime, the ball was on CHS’s side when sophomore Stuti Upadhyay and junior Samantha Chan moved the ball back up the field, and soon after, with few defenders around her, Jaimie forced the ball into the back of the net. The first half concluded with a score of 3-0 in MVHS’ favor.
Kaushik explains that frequent and quick passes between players, as well as the strong defense near midfield, eventually led to more scoring opportunities,
The second half went similarly for the Matadors. Although more shots were missed, the team maintained their energy and speed.
The heavy rain only slightly faded away. Kaushik explains how this might have affected the gameplay.
“It’s a little harder to concentrate and we have to work extra hard to stay sharp,” Kaushik said.
Although MVHS was far ahead on the scoreboard, the team maintained its aggression through the end. Part of junior Mythili Ketavarapu’s shoe had even broken off from the play.
10 minutes into the second half, senior Emma Lam followed through with a goal after a missed attempt that went just outside the goal post.
Although CHS got more scoring opportunities than in the first half, goalie and junior Heather Migdal moved fluidly across the goal area, staying close to the post to save balls.
With the game almost over, freshman Skylar Ploshay, who had recently been brought up from the JV team, weaved through the scattered CHS defense and scored, sealing the Matadors’ 5-0 win with a long shot.
“I was pretty nervous as it was only my second varsity game, [but]my team was very supportive and told me I would be fine,” Ploshay said. “I actually ended up scoring my first varsity goal, and everyone was so excited for me.”
Although a four-point win and a five-point win could mean the same thing on a win-lose chart, the number of goals scored might just mean the difference between the MVHS girls soccer team going to the Central Coast Section (CCS) playoffs for the first time since several years.
Additional reporting by Jasmine Lee.