PALO ALTO—The Pajaro Valley High boys soccer team had managed to overcome everything thrown in its direction during the shortened Covid-19 season.
The Grizzlies were close to overcoming the role of the underdog once again. But, they fell short against No. 3 Gunn High, 5-3, in penalty kicks in the quarterfinals of the Central Coast Section Open Division playoffs Saturday.
With the loss, the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League champion also saw its unbeaten streak of 13 straight wins come to an end.
PV coach Juan Roman told the team after the game that there was no need to hold their heads down.
“Man to man we were the same,” he said. “In PKs it’s the luck of the draw and all it takes is one miss, that’s it.”
Luis Velazquez scored the Grizzlies’ lone goal in the 65th minute on an assist from Jose Hernandez to help send the game into overtime tied at 1-1.
PV senior Alan Bedolla said he felt like at that moment they had the momentum going in their direction. The Grizzlies, who came into the playoffs as the No. 6 seed, kept the ball inside the Titans’ zone and set themselves up with great opportunities for a shot on goal throughout the game.
But several of those open shots turned into turnovers and Bedolla admitted that it was just mostly hesitation on his part.
“I felt like they were going to get blocked, I couldn’t pull the trigger,” he said.
Roman credited the Titans for being a tough, physical team that found ways to take away the shot from the Grizzlies. He believed they had chances to score at least once more in regulation.
Roman said he felt like some players did not take the shots when they had to, but instead tried one too many dribbles and thought they’d have one more chance down the road.
“Like Wayne Gretzky says, ‘You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,’” he said. “You don’t take those shots then you’re not going to score.”
Those chances never came for PV as Bedolla and senior Kevin Rincon were kept out for most of the game.
Bedolla said he felt at times that the officiating wasn’t being called fairly for both sides and he was still scratching his head after the game at some of the no-calls.
“I do have to talk about the referee a little bit because I feel like they did help [Gunn] out,” Bedolla said.
But, he said that he’s not going to take any credit away from the Titans’ victory. They came prepared to play and Gunn had a group of great players, especially the defenders, that kept disrupting PV’s attack.
“It just didn’t work out, that’s how soccer is,” Bedolla said.
Roman mentioned they’d been working a lot on pressing teams and he feels like they got away from that strategy, as well. He said he’s not sure if it was the pressure of playing in the postseason but he felt like they were off their game a bit on Saturday evening.
“We did it to all our teams in the area, we pressured them, we won the ball and we scored really fast,” Roman said. “Not shooting didn’t help us.”
Senior goalie Martin Gonzalez made six saves for PV, which finished the season with a 13-1 record.
Roman said the goal all along was to finish the SCCAL season undefeated, despite not knowing if they’d be able to play or not due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He recalls the beginning of the season got off to a rocky start and most of the players were still out of synch.
After a couple of games they looked sharper. Roman said it wasn’t until the final two weeks of the regular season when they really started to take off.
The Grizzlies came into the CCS playoffs riding on a 13-game win streak and with the SCCAL title in hand. They were also fresh off a win against rival Watsonville High for the first time since 2013.
“It was unbelievable,” Bedolla said. “As a senior I felt like I owed that to the school, to our teammates. It was the best feeling in the world.”
Bedolla said he’s definitely going to miss making all the memories with his teammates along with everything else that came with being part of the program.
PV is losing 11 seniors to graduation and for them Saturday was the final game of their high school careers. Roman said they’ll still have a good core of players coming back next year.
“We expect to be back,” he said.
Watsonville 2, Woodside 1: Jael Leal scored two goals to help lift the No. 8 seed Wildcatz over the top-seeded Wildcats in the quarterfinals of the CCS D-I playoffs at Sequoia High on Saturday.
Watsonville senior Victor Vega-Lopez was credited with an assist; while junior goalie Angel Edgar made three saves.
Woodside senior David Ruiz was credited with the assist on the feed to sophomore Benny Bogyo for the first half score.
The Wildcatz (11-2-0) play at No. 5 Lincoln (7-4-3) in the semifinals on Wednesday at 3pm in San Jose.
CCS girls soccer
Branham 1, Aptos 0
SAN JOSE—The Aptos High girls soccer team came into the Central Coast Section playoffs as one of the hottest teams, having won its final 10 games to close out the SCCAL season.
But the No. 5 seed Mariners saw their postseason come to an end after a 1-0 loss against No. 4 Branham High in the quarterfinals of the CCS D-I playoffs on Saturday.
Kaelyn Kubata scored in the 10th minute for the Bruins, which was all they needed to advance into the semifinals.
It was the first time this season that Aptos was shutout. They finished the season with a 12-2-0 overall record.
Monte Vista Christian 6, At James Lick 0: Shayna Lebovitz and Jana Komposch each scored twice for the No. 5 seed Mustangs in a win against the No. 4 Comets in the quarterfinals of the CCS D-III playoffs on May 22.
Lebovitz scored her first goal within the first five minutes of the game. Komposch extended the lead to 2-0 with her first goal of the evening just shortly before the 10th minute.
Caroline Ollenburger and Kailyn Kaiser each contributed a goal for MVC. Both players scored in the first half that made it 4-0 going into halftime.
Komposch scored her second goal in the 55th minute and Lebovitz got her second score in the 76th minute.
MVC (7-4-1) plays at top-seeded Christopher High (6-0-1) in the semifinals on Wednesday at 4:30pm