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The Foothill Dragon Press

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The Foothill Dragon Press

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Boys’ soccer season ends in CIF semifinal loss

Claire Hadley
The soccer season is short, action packed, tiring and can go by in the blink of an eye. The Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) boys’ soccer team’s run for the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Division Five championship was put to an end on the night of Feb. 16, 2024, at the semifinal game that took place at Ventura High School’s (Ventura) Larrabee Stadium.
Fiona Aulenta

On Feb. 16, 2024, the division five California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) semifinals took place at Ventura High School’s (Ventura) Larrabee Stadium. This match pitted the Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) boys’ soccer team against Esperanza High School (Esperanza). With this match, Foothill Tech’s season came to a close as Esperanza prevailed over the Dragons 0-4.

In the first few minutes, Esperanza set the tone for the game. After gaining possession of the ball, they moved down the field and sent the ball into Foothill Tech’s net, establishing an early 0-1 lead.

After this goal, Esperanza did not let up and kept the ball on the Dragon’s side of the field. Despite this, Foothill Tech maintained a strong back line and many saves were made by Foothill Tech’s goalkeeper Adam Al Warhani ‘24 to keep Esperanza at bay.

Esperanza was relentless, however, and after countless attempts on goal, Foothill Tech’s defense was broken once again and their lead increased to 0-2.

Team captain, Merric Bayless ’24, holds possession of the ball as he attempts to move around the Esperanza’s defender and dribble into the attacking third of the pitch. Throughout the season, Bayless has been a dominating force in Foothill Tech’s offense. (Claire Hadley)

On Foothill Tech’s offense, they were unable to find holes in their opponents wall of defense. However, attempts on goal were made by Foothill Tech’s Ricky Salinas ‘24 and Diego Flores Orozco ’24, but were unable to connect with the net, leaving the score 0-2 at halftime.

As the team reconvened and the second half began, the Dragons energy was palpable as they made increased efforts to change the score. Although Foothill Tech’s offense was playing much more aggressively, including attempts from Nico Flores ‘24 and Merric Bayless ‘24, the score remained the same.

Bayless stated, “We let them win balls … we had some silly mistakes … they outplayed us to be honest.”

Esperanza was able to keep control of the ball for a large majority of the time, and though countless saves were made by the defense and Al Warhani, the barrage was continuous. This led to two consecutive scores within minutes of each other, taking the score to 0-4.

Matheus Gamble ’24 battles for the ball in his last match of his high school soccer career. With Esperanza in the lead, and this game determining who makes it to the CIF division 5 championship game, Foothill Tech was desperate to score a goal. (Claire Hadley)

However, as the minutes clicked down, the Dragons did not halt their efforts towards goal. With several opportunities on corner kicks along with strong build up from the defense, Foothill Tech’s determination would not be diminished. Heads held high, the whistle was blown, sounding the end of the game and Foothill Tech’s season.

Assistant coach, David Arroyo, spoke on the end of the game and the season, stating, “We didn’t get the result we wanted, but I’m proud of these boys … no one expected us to be here.”

Salinas, who has been a member of the team for all four years, reflected on his time in the program, “Everyone here is part of a family … and playing with this family has honestly been the best years of my life.”

The Foothill Tech boys’ soccer team’s season ended with a record of 6-2-1, placing them third in the Tri-Valley rankings along with making it to the CIF semifinals which is the farthest they’ve been in the past couple of years.

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About the Contributors
Conor White
Conor White, Reporter
Aka Sonia. A first-year sports writer who is a runner by choice and loves eating and sleeping.
Claire Hadley
Claire Hadley, Photographer
Short girl who is addicted to the beach, chugging tea, watching "Grey's Anatomy" and manufacturing random concoctions in the kitchen.

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