Season ends with first round playoff loss


GABE GOT GAME: On Senior Night, midfielder Gabe Palacios ’20 passes the ball as forward Eric Guo (NDHS ’21) trails behind. The game ended in a 2-2 tie Feb. 3, marking the last time that the 11 seniors suited up in the regular season on Ted Slavin Field. Credit: Eugean Choi

Eugean Choi

The first round of CIF Playoffs concluded with the boys’ soccer team losing 3-2 to Santa Barbara High School on Feb. 12. Although the loss marked the last time he would play with his high school teammates, UCLA commit and midfielder Pablo Greenlee ’20 said he held his head high and took pride in what his team had achieved over the past months.

“Of course, losing in the first round was a disappointment, but I am really happy with the effort that we put in,” Greenlee said. “That game was probably the most cohesive game we’ve had as a unit and the fact that we dominated the majority of playing time shows that we had real quality and could have gone much further in CIF. [As] a low ranked team, that is impressive in itself and I’m proud that we were able to prove ourselves.”

Though satisfied with the season, defender Liam Weetman ’21 said he wished that the team’s playoff run had continued.

“I feel like we lost a lot of potential by losing the first round, as this was one of our strongest teams to ever come through, so I’m sad that it came up short,” Weetman said. “But I am happy with how we came together as a team.”

The squad finished with an overall record of 13-6-4 and league record of 7-3-2. Program Head Kris Ward said he will remember this season fondly, and that the team did everything it could.

“The season was largely positive,” Ward said. “We accomplished quite a bit, showed our opponents what we were capable of and qualified for the
playoffs yet again. I am proud of the way we attacked each and every game. Also, I am proud of the way we tried to implement our style regardless of who played.”

Greenlee said that his last loss was an emotional one, but that he is excited for the future of the program.

“I’m very sad to leave behind the team, especially the other seniors because I have been playing with some of them since I was a young kid,” Greenlee said. “I’ve formed very deep bonds with them that we’ll keep the rest of our lives.”

Ward said that this year’s seniors all hold a special place in his heart and that he is excited to see what they achieve in the future.

“The seniors are near and dear to me, as they were all freshmen when I came to the program,” Ward said. “They were key components to the success over the last four years. It has been a really great process of helping to build the program and seeing where it is heading.”

The team will lose 11 seniors as they depart for college prior to next season. However, the squad’s younger players will fill the resulting gap next year, Ward said.

“We have always had people step up and we have some really solid players moving up from the Middle School.” Ward said.

Weetman said that he has been preparing himself to lead his peers since the season began.

“The senior class was very strong and I’ll miss them so much,” Weetman said. “We will need to come together so that we can come back next year and keep improving.”