Soccer defeats Loyola


Leo Saperstein

ROAD RUNNER: Left-back Ollin DeAntonio ’22 dribbles past a defender in boys soccer’s match against Crespi Carmelite School on Jan. 14. The team won the game 6-0, with goals from Josh Barnavon ’24, Alejandro Lombard ’23, Wilson Federman ’24, Patrick Yeh ’23 and Theo Ottoson ’25. The team currently has a 9-3-3 overall record and a 4-1-1 league record.

The boys soccer team defeated Loyola High School for the first time in six years by a score of 1-0 Jan. 5. After a scoreless first half, the squad gained a one goal lead, and shut out the Loyola High School offense for the remainder of the second half.

Forward Josh Barnavon ’24 scored the team’s only goal on the rebound after a shot by Assistant Sports Section Editor Charlie Seymour ’23 was blocked by the Loyola goal-keeper. Though Barnavon alone scored, he said the win followed a cohesive team effort.

“Loyola has always been our rival in soccer and going into the game, we knew it was going to be really tough,” Barnavon said. “During the game, everyone worked really hard and was there for each other, which made the final result more rewarding.”

During the 2020-2021 winter season, the squad lost to Loyola High School with scores of 1-0 and 2-0 April 5, 2021 and April 19, 2021, respectively. Barnavon said he feels proud to have helped the team achieve their first win against Loyola High School in six years, especially after last year’s scoreless losses.

“Scoring the game-winner was super exciting because each season it’s always a goal of ours to be at Loyola,” Barnavon said. “Being able to make that goal a reality was a great feeling. It was also the first time we’ve beat Loyola High School since 2015, and being able to end that streak also meant a lot to me. Going forward, I really hope that our team keeps up the mentality of hard work that we have started the season with, and [I hope we do] not get complacent because we still have many more games to play.”

Boys Soccer Program Head Michael Erush said the team’s preseason conditioning, including sports performance and sports psychology training, prepared them thoroughly for their strongest opponents. In the win against Loyola High School, Erush said the defenders’ chemistry prevented the opposition from scoring.

“We want to make sure we’re organized defensively by over-communicating and making sure our tactical awareness of what they have going forward is important,” Erush said. “I think one of our game goals was to shut out [Loyola High School], and every opponent going into every game. We were going to try to defend with a purpose and defend very well.”
While Erush said the defenders played at a high level, he said the team’s forwards applied constant pressure to the opposing team’s defenders and set the standard of intensity in the game when the team did not have possession.

“The [offense] is working equally as hard because our defense starts with our forwards in pressing moments,” Erush said. “They work as hard as our defenders, and so part of the shut-out was because of our forwards’ hard work as well.”

After three years playing for the varsity team, defender Ollin DeAntonio ’22 said his teammates’ camaraderie this year was essential in securing their victory against Loyola High School.

“Approaching the Loyola game, the whole team had a desire to win,” DeAntonio said. “From the start to the season we had beating [Loyola High School] as one of our goals. As a senior, beating [Loyola High School] does give me a sense of accomplishment. Our goal has always been to win the league [championship] and [Loyola High School] historically has been in our way. Now it feels like just another game but a positive step forward to winning the league [championship].”

The team found success early in the season, winning five straight games after losing the season opener against Palos Verdes High School on Dec.12. After the win against Loyola High School, the squad lost 2-0 to Saint Francis High School on Jan. 10. The team continued on to beat Alemany High School 2-0 Jan. 12.

Forward Milo Kiddugavu ’22 said players recovered well from their loss against Saint Francis High School, proving the team’s ability to overcome challenges and its readiness for the playoffs.

“It was a huge win to set us back on the track we want to be on as we enter the second half of the season,” Kiddugavu said. “In my mind, I can see us having a chance at possibly winning [the league championship], if we keep building our confidence and start staying consistent with our mentality.”

The squad maintained the momentum from their win over Alemany High School in a 6-0 victory against Crespi Carmelite High School on Jan. 14. Defender Asher Rossen ’23 said the squad was able to grow closer through frequent off-season training, which he said helped establish the team’s dynamic on the field.

“This year, there is much better chemistry throughout the team,” Rossen said. “From weight [training], preseason and the season, this team just feels a lot more connected and unified as a group.”

Rossen said strong interpersonal relationships in the locker room have contributed to the team’s cohesion on the field, especially during the squad’s most recent games.

“When we defend, we defend as a team,” Rossen said. “The same goes for the attack. The main element that makes our team so strong is our work ethic and our desire to win, not only for ourselves, but also on for the sake of our teammates, [who are] like family.”

Forward Patrick Yeh ’23, who scored one goal in the game against Crespi Carmelite High School on Jan. 14, said the relationships he found on the team this year have translated to his life beyond soccer.

“It’s definitely been one of the greatest seasons of my high school soccer career and that really is based on our team dynamic,” Yeh said. “I have never felt this attached to any team. There is something so fun about being in the locker room during our pregame, and that translates to the game because we have very good team chemistry.”

Yeh said working with Erush improved both his personal experience on the team and strengthened the squad’s overall skillset this season.

“I give credit to Erush, [who helped us find] a good playing style [that] fits our roster,” Yeh said. “Loyola High School has always been our league rival, and we are always so excited to play them. They always play hard. For the first time in a few years, I am really optimistic that we could continue through the playoffs and maybe even win a championship. I’m loving [playing with the team] so far.”