“It’s ring season” for Foothill boys’ soccer as they win first place in Division Seven CIF game

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Andrew Lee

Team Captain Kyle Grenier ’20 presents the CIF Championship award to the team.

Cierra Marienthal and Claire Hernandez

The Foothill Technology boys’ soccer team did not fail to put on a show for the energetic crowd of fans who came out to support the night of their California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Finals game on Feb. 28. These players traveled “over 800 miles the past three months” according to Alex Loza ‘22, which demonstrates all the hard work and dedication the team put in to get to where they are now. The Dragons are the Division 7 champions after beating the Oakwood Gorillas 4-1, earning them a seat in the state tournament. 

The crowd stirred in anticipation as the referee blew the whistle beginning the game with the Gorillas’ possession on the kickoff. Although the Dragons did not start the game with the ball, they quickly gained possession and challenged the Gorillas’ defense. The Gorillas countered the ball, unwilling to back down easily and the opponents managed to get the ball inside the six-yard box for a shot saved by Dragons goalkeeper Luke Shadden ‘21. 

 

 

Michael Hernandez ‘22 received the ball on the Dragons’ possession and carried the ball up the right sideline to attempt to get an early goal, but the Gorillas’ defense picked it up to serve it back up the field. The Gorillas earned a corner kick just 11 minutes into the game, and strikers dropped back to support their backline. Kyle Grenier ‘20 was one of these forwards, and he headed the ball out to wipe away any chances of the Gorillas scoring.

Andrew Lee
Sam Valdez ’20 looks for a pass while keeping it away from the defense.

According to Grenier, he tries his best to be a leader and he felt he brought that energy for his teammates against the Gorillas. 

The Dragons utilized their strong players on the outside wings and had many attempts to score off crossed balls. With 12:21 remaining, the Gorillas advanced into the Dragons’ 18-yard box and slipped a goal passed Shadden in the lower-left corner. 

However, the Dragons remained determined. They had already made it this far in CIF, and had faced many challenges thus far, so the deficit of a goal did not slow their momentum. They continued to challenge the backline of the Gorillas defense. Diego Ocampo ‘22 chipped the ball over the top of their opponents, and while the ball went out, Loza received a corner kick for the Dragons. Although it was unsuccessful, Foothill fans continued to cheer on the boys and kept the intensity high.

 

 

A beautiful give and go combination play between Gavin Cattanach ‘21 and Jacob Garidot ‘20 excited the crowd and Cattanach earned a direct freekick for the Dragons outside the 18-yard box. Ocampo stepped up to take the kick, hoping for the last opportunity for the Dragons to tie up the game before the half ended, but the ball was cleared by the opposing defense, ending the half 1-0 in the Gorillas’ favor.

Andrew Lee
Kyeler Brant ’20 sprints down the 40 yard line looking for a pass to his team

Coach Luis Sanchez reconvened with his team at halftime, telling them that “champions have to challenge themselves to become great,” and reflected that “it was up to them to really pull together.” 

The second half started with an early freekick for the Dragons two minutes in, and Giradot laid a ball in front of Grenier to score, only to be taken back by the referee due to an offsides call. With the score still at 0-1, Grenier was hungry to claim back his goal, scoring five minutes into the half off a corner kick served by Giradot.

This goal fired up both teams, and many fouls were made, further intensifying the game. The Gorillas attempted to regain their lead, but the Dragon defense, along with Shadden, maintained a tie on the scoreboard. 

In the Dragons’ offensive third, another opportunity opened for the boys. A throw-in followed by a crossed ball from Giradot traveled high in the air to Loza. He turned the ball and the defender to create space to shoot and scored straight in the back of the net with 24:49 remaining on the clock.

The Dragons remained on edge, with the score scarily close at  2-1. The Dragons again were able to score with 13:28 remaining. Loza took the ball up on the right-wing and crossed the ball in the air to Grenier who fired an unstoppable volley.

The game transferred to the control of the Dragons as they took many shots and kept the ball in the Gorillas’ half for the rest of the game. With minutes left in the game, Giradot took the ball up the left sideline and crossed the ball over to Loza, scoring the final goal of the game, ending it 4-1.

 

 

The boys left the field with smiling faces.  Supporter Kai Wilkes ’22 stated “it’s ring season” for the boys’ soccer team as they won their CIF rings.

The Dragons get to “enjoy this weekend as CIF champs, and get back to work Monday,” Sanchez said as they get ready for the state tournament.

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