Varsity Men´s Soccer Team Dominates Conference Finals
by Cristian Trandafir
On September 21, Northside’s varsity men's soccer team placed first in the third division conference by executing a convincing victory against Rickover. The match was crucial to determining who would place first. Northside needed a win or tie in order to win conference, or else they would have to rely on Rickover losing their next game against Senn. Team captain Guy Lohoua, Adv. 808, said “Rickover was the most unexpected school to go up against because we have scrimmaged against nearly every team over the summer, but we've never seen how Rickover plays.” The team did not let this alter their play style, as they fought hard for a 2-0 win, which pushed their win streak to nine games.
The game started off with both teams struggling for control of the ball. Each team waited cautiously for the other to play their trump card. Northside broke the ice and soon began to drive the ball behind Rickover´s defenses with the tag-team duo of Lohoua and Noah Choi, Adv. 802. The two forwards were relentless even in the 95 degree heat, repeatedly outmaneuvering the Rickover players and getting open when the other was in a pinch. Rickover´s defense could not match the two in speed, which resulted in their midfielders needing to play man-to-man. Luckily for Northside, this meant Rickover was tiring themselves out chasing Choi and Lohoua all around the field. With cracks in their defense slowly forming, Harrison Page, Adv. 903, kicked the ball into the net and made the packed bleachers go wild.
Because Lohoua spent a good part of the game outrunning the Rickover players, he returned to the bench for a bit to cool off from the steaming hot sun. The goal seemed to motivate Rickover as they began to fight harder to try and even the game. Unfortunately for them, Northside's defense kept a solid wall around the goal, kicking the ball away every time Rickover made a run. Northside´s starting goalie, Joey Reynolds, Adv. 809, said, “It was like I was a princess and the entire team was my castle protecting any goals from coming near me.” The tight action continued until halftime, where the score remained 1-0.
The second half began with Northside playing aggressively, again driving the ball in relentlessly towards the opposing goal. John Mullen, Adv. 906, started to pick up the pace and charge at the goal by himself. Rickover’s goalie dived to take the ball away but Mullen managed to jump over him and simply walk the ball into the goal. Unfortunately, there was some players from each team getting tangled up behind Mullen, which led to a free kick for Rickover, nullifying the goal.
Even though time was drawing to a close, both teams were playing with the same amount of energy and dedication as they were at the beginning of the game. With tensions running high, Page suddenly crossed a deep free-kick over the defense to the back post. Charlie Swan, Adv. 905, leapt up and headed the ball into the upper right corner of the goal. Soon after, the ref blew the whistle and the entire Northside team, as well as the crowd, erupted in celebration. The game ended with a score of 2-0, earning the Mustangs a conference championship.
The end of the game was met with applause by all the attendees--even the Rickover supporters. The bleachers quickly cleared as spectators ran onto the field and celebrated in the moshpit with the Northside soccer team. When asked about their remaining games, Jorge Orellana (Adv. 800) said, “I’m just glad we got that match out of the way. Now we can focus on the real challenge - winning state.” With the Mustangs continuing their undefeated streak, the varsity men’s soccer team looks forward to Northsiders supporting them on their #RoadToState.