The boys’ soccer team placed second in the Mission League behind Loyola High School after finishing with an overall record of 11-6-2 and league record of 8-2-2.
“In regards to winning the league, we lost [senior midfielder] Alec Katz [’19] to injury early in the year and he was not able to return,” head coach Kris Ward said. “[Katz] was one of the dominant attackers in the league and a senior captain, so he was a rather large loss. We missed a few others due to injury and illness but ultimately it came down to our home game against Loyola, and we just did not play well.”
In the 4-1 loss to Loyola on Jan. 11, the Cubs began the game with a 3-0 lead in the first half. Ward said that beating Loyola would have positioned the Wolverines well to win league.
Despite the team’s placement in league, Ward said that he believes it was a positive season due to several standout players. Goalkeeper Charlie Mendes ’19 won Mission League Goalkeeper of the year and forward Langston Holly ’20 led the team in goals scored.
Midfielder Gabriel Palacios ’20, defender Pablo Greenlee ’20 and forward Henry Sanderson ’20 were named to the All Mission League First Team.
Holly, midfielder Asher Vogel ’19, defender Alexander Schindler ’19 and midfielder Connor Colao were all named to the All Mission League Second Team and Honorable Mention.
“Greenlee as one of our wide backs was one of our most dangerous attackers and a big key to our success,” Ward said. “But, this year, we had a solid group that played together, battled together and showed a tremendous amount of heart.”
Team camaraderie also contributed to its success, midfielder Vogel said.
“We got a lot closer on and off the field this season,” Vogel said. “Personally, I became much better friends with my teammates, and I think we got to know each other’s playing styles a lot better.”
Ward also said he believes that the team emphasized becoming a tight-knit group.
“Players worked and pushed each other from day one until the end,” Ward said. “We have talented players for sure, but the group dynamic is what carried us through much of this season.”
Several players, including Vogel and midfielder Gabriel Palacios ’20, said that the team has a bright future.
“Towards the end of the season, we had a lot of leadership coming from our sophomore and junior class, and I think that’ll carry directly into next year, so there is definitely something to look out for with this program,” Vogel said.
Going into next season, the team’s goal will be to win a league and a CIF title, as it always is, Ward said.
“We came very close to ousting Loyola as league champs, so next year I definitely believe we can win the league title and even a CIF Championship,” Palacios said. “I know a lot of the current seniors that just played their last game as a Wolverine feel we have something special going on here and are going to be even better next season. I’ll be a senior next year, so I’m going to have to carry on that same leadership that they all did throughout this season.”
Other than winning league, Ward said that there are other aspects of the team to focus on to take the team’s play to another level.
“I’m looking for more players to be involved in goal scoring, to become more dangerous from a number of spots and a little less predictable,” Ward said. “Beyond that, I want to have the best defensive team in the league. We have been close the last few years, but to really own that mantle and be stingy defensively.”