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Redwood Bark

Photo Essay: Boys’ varsity soccer continues their dominant run with an MCAL championship

It was inevitable that the Giants were going to score in the boys’ Marin County Athletic League (MCAL) soccer championship; it was just a matter of when. Archie Williams sat deep on defense, “parking the bus” and forcing Redwood to play long balls past them. But this didn’t deter Redwood from consistently building up offensive attacks. The Giants found their mismatch, and they were keen on exploiting it. Seniors Jack Corvi and Jack Middleton peppered through balls to junior Sam Gersch, who’s speed allowed him to easily get past the Falcons’ back line. He found three shots on goal in the first half, but was unable to convert any. Junior Hugo Gebhard made two impressive crosses of his own, on a free kick and a corner kick, just barely missing open runners. In the meantime, the Giants’ high defensive pressure suffocated Archie, not allowing them to build up any attacks and forcing them to kick reckless long balls into Redwood’s back line. 

However, as the game went on and Redwood stopped playing high pressure, the Falcons began to shift the momentum by building multiple runs of their own. But the Giants held strong, as senior Jackson Walker was able to climb off his line and senior Ensio Sardans used his head to clear long balls, stopping multiple Archie Williams attacks.

Coming off a 3-0 win vs. Tamalpais in the semi-finals and a 1-0 win vs Archie Williams in the last MCAL game, the Giants were red-hot. After two impressive wins of their own, 2-0 over Branson and 4-1 over Tamalpais, the Falcons were just as hot. 

With the half winding down, Middleton intercepted a pass before finding senior Tom Griffin. Griffin took a strong shot on goal, barely saved by the Falcons’ keeper, ending the first half 0-0. 

The Giants strong attacks continued into the second half, maintaining possession for the majority of the period until Griffin was tripped up right inside the box, giving Redwood a penalty kick. With the crowd on its feet and the championship on the line, Sardans took the kick. The Falcons’ goalie guessed correctly, diving to his right and saving the shot. The ball bounced right back to Sardans who took another shot, and the goalie made another spectacular save, keeping the game scoreless. 

In the coming minutes, the Giants got five shots on goal, with none of them scoring; junior Masa Fujita and sophomore Kamran Madani both barely missed shots from distance, Gersch and Corvi both shot firm headers in the box — requiring difficult saves from the goalkeeper — and then Gersch missed another close shot off a beautiful pass from Fujita. With so many great chances, the Giants were bound to score, and with 20 minutes left, they finally converted. 

Griffin received a through ball past the Falcons’ back line; and then fired a left footed shot into the top corner. After so many missed chances all night, the Giants would not let this win slip away. 

They sunk back into a heavily defensive formation, not allowing the Falcons behind them. Walker high pointed multiple Archie Williams crosses out of the air, and the Giants played the ball slowly in their own half, draining the clock. As stoppage time came, the Giants began to clear the ball as far as they could, keeping the ball away from their goal. The final whistle blew, and the Giants won the MCAL championship 1-0. 

The North Coast Section tournament begins on Wednesday, and Redwood awaits to be seeded. 

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About the Contributor
Matthew Knauer, Sports Editor
Matthew Knauer is a junior at Redwood High School and is a sports editor for the bark. He enjoys playing baseball, surfing, and hanging out with friends.