By Alex Leichenger
Though the boysâ soccer team advanced deeper into CIF playoffs than any of its predecessors in school history, the team fell just short of capturing a CIF title.
The Wolverines lost 2-1 to JSerra in a fervent, rain-soaked showdown March 6 at Warren High School in Downey.
Goalie Alex Silverman â10, a decorated four-year varsity player in his last game as a Wolverine, received a red card when he tackled an opposing player to prevent a goal that would have extended JSerraâs lead to 3-1.
“I could feel him just on my side getting by me,” Silverman said. “You know, it was a no-brainer. It was a definite goal versus one that might not happen. I wanted to end it on my terms.”
The Wolverinesâ comeback attempt was kept alive when reserve goalie Wiley Webb â12 blocked the resulting penalty kick, but the save ultimately was not enough.
“When we went down 2-0, a lot of teams could have quit [at that point], but we didnât, even when we only had 10 guys at the end,” Mattie Calvert â10 said.
“We left all we had on the field,” Silverman said.
The Wolverines advanced to the final round of CIF with only three goals in their four playoff wins. After Silverman scored on a 60-yard free kick to in their first round game, the team edged opponent Royal on penalty kicks.
The Wolverines were carried by defense in the next three contests, giving up zero goals en route to the title game. The team emerged from a scoreless tie in the semifinals against Edison by virtue of their fifth win of the season on penalty kicks in six opportunities.
The squad suffered two losses each to Mission League rivals Crespi and Loyola prior to CIF, and Head Coach Freddy Arroyo seemed to have moderate playoff expectations at the time.
But Arroyo said he was not surprised by the teamâs turnaround, since he knew “the talent was always there.” Arroyo credited defense and extensive preparation for opponents as key factors in the teamâs run.
“It was hard to rebound after Crespi and Loyola, and I think we just felt that the playoffs were a completely fresh start,” Silverman said.
The Wolverines finished the season with a record of 21-7-3 and cracked ESPN Riseâs national rankings, finishing 48th.
“Iâm extremely proud of the run we made,” Silverman said. “I loved every minute of it.”