Boys’ soccer remains set on making a deep CIF Playoff run, goalkeeper Charlie Mendes ’19 and forward Langston Holly ’20 said. The team is currently 10-4-4 overall and 7-1-2 in league after beating Chaminade High School 1-0 Friday. The results of the game against Notre Dame High School on Monday were unavailable as of press time.
“I think our team is moving in the right direction, and if we keep practicing the way we have been, we will be more than ready for playoffs,” Holly said. “I believe that we can achieve [a deep playoff run] by playing to our team’s potential because we have the talent to do well in playoffs but haven’t always shown it.”
Several players said that the 1-1 tie with Loyola High School on Dec. 12 was the best game that the team has played so far this season. According to a national ranking list released by TopDrawerSoccer, the Cubs were ranked the number one team in the country going into the game and were coming off an undefeated league record season.
“The tie to Loyola at the beginning of the season definitely gave us the belief that we could beat anyone because we almost won,” midfielder Gabriel Palacios ’20 said.
After the tie with Loyola, the team went on to win five straight league games, improving to 5-0-1 in league. Forward Henry Sanderson ’20 said that after this strong stretch, he believed the team had a shot to finish first in the Mission League. However, in the Wolverine’s second and final regular-season match up with Loyola on Jan. 11, both standout midfielder Alec Katz ’19 and defender Pablo Greenlee ’20 didn’t play due to injury. The squad lost 4-1 after allowing three goals in during the first half.
“We wanted to come out with more energy [in the loss to Loyola], but all we can do now is to prepare for our upcoming games,” Palacios said. “We can’t let this loss hurt the way we play going forward.”
Katz and Greenlee were out for the second consecutive game in the 1-1 tie against St. Francis, a team that the Wolverines had previously beat 2-1 earlier in the season.
“It’s been very difficult [to play without Katz and Greenlee],” Holly said. “Without [Katz], our team misses creativity in the midfield, and Greenlee was arguably our best player, so his injury obviously hurts the team also.”
Mendes said it has been challenging for the seniors to lead the underclassmen on the team because of injuries.
“It’s been tough since three of our four captains, [Katz], Alex Schindler [’19] and Asher Vogel [’19] have all had long term injuries with [Katz] being out for the season, but guys like Maclean Witmer [’19] and Nick Barnouw [’19] have really stepped up defensively,” Mendes said. “During our away game against Loyola, [Witmer] completely shut down their best player.”
The Cubs are currently 5-0-2 as of press deadline so the Wolverine’s chances to win the Mission League are slim. However, a loss for Loyola could change the outcome of the Mission League.
“We want to win out, so we are holding ourselves accountable and are going to start staying after practice to train or watch film and go to the trainers,” Sanderson said.