Boys’ varsity soccer redeem themselves against San Rafael in intensely close game

Emilie Erickson

On Wednesday, Jan. 26, the boys’ varsity soccer team pulled off a close victory against San Rafael High School (SR) with a score of 4-3. When Redwood last played SR, they lost by two goals, further motivating the Giants to pull out a win this time around.

Celebrating their win, the Giants gather on the field after the game. (Emilie Erickson)

For the first 20 minutes, the game moved at a steady pace, and the score remained 0-0. After a successful penalty kick, SR took the lead. Both teams attempted to keep up with each other as they swiftly moved up and down the field. The Giants quickly gained confidence and began sending strong punts towards SR’s goal. Senior Jacob Smith, who plays right wing, was pleased to see his teammates’ performance fuel their determination throughout the game. Dave Mazariegos, also a senior, especially stood out to Smith after scoring the first goal for the Giants.  

“The biggest highlight of the game was [Mazariegos’] first goal off the volley. That really got the momentum started for us,” Smith said.

After their first goal, the Giants were on a roll and scored multiple others, ending in a leading score of 4-1 by halftime.

“We don’t get down on ourselves; we pick each other’s heads up and stay motivated. We definitely dominated [in the first half],” Smith said. 

Shortly after halftime, the team drew into a huddle to discuss techniques that would secure their victory and keep their lead. Head coach William Finnie acknowledged the boys’ advanced level of play during the first half and wanted to maintain the lively energy. 

Striving towards the ball, Matt Jensen (4) locks down his defense. (Emilie Erickson)

“Right now, we have a lot of good things going, so it’s just about keeping the positive vibe within the team,” Finnie said. 

At the beginning of the second half, the Giants’ goalie Jackson Walker got injured, leaving Mazariegos, their alternate goalie, to step in. Despite the setback, the team was not discouraged. Senior and center back Jimmy Phelan cheered on his teammates and admired their efficiency in obtaining possession of the ball. 

“[Andrew] Palmer plays [holding middle] for us, so he’s always kind of the first line of defense. He’s got to win the balls from their opposing attacking mids. That dude does not stop working as hard as possible—he wins every ball and goes into [the game with] full force,” Phelan said. 

Depsite the Giant’s positivity, SR was able to make a comeback.  As the score grew closer at 4-3, Redwood doubled down on their defensive skills. The game was coming to an end when the opposing striker gained possession of the ball. Palmer stepped onto the 30 yard line and followed through with a tackle on the defensive transition, stopping SR’s attack entirely. 

“That was very impressive. Palmer was up, looking to make the next pass straight after,” Phelan said. 

With their impressive win, Finnie has high hopes for the team’s future and is confident in his team’s ability to play at their fullest potential. 

Pushing up the field, Jack Middleton (20) uses his offensive skills to gain possession of the ball. (Emilie Erickson)

“I think our biggest strength right now is that everybody feels on the same page. Everybody understands the standard of energy and effort that I expect from them,” Finnie said. “When everyone is on the same page and rowing the boat in the same direction, the vibe of the team is really strong. I think we come onto the field with a lot of belief that we are going to win the game.” 

With Redwood currently at the number one spot in the Marin County Athletic League (MCALs), they remain undefeated with a record of 3-0, and are prepared to keep their streak going. Join these Giants at their upcoming game against Branson this Saturday, Jan. 29 at 1 p.m. at Branson’s Tom Ryan Field.