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NCS soccer roundup: Roseland Collegiate Prep boys win school's first title

RICHARD J. MARCUS,

On a rain-soaked Anderson Valley High School field on Wednesday afternoon, Roseland Collegiate Prep won its first-ever NCS championship in any sport in its brief four-year history as the third-seeded Grizzlies upset the top-seeded host Panthers 3-2 in a penalty kick shootout.

“It feels great after working hard for four years to win a championship,” RCP senior captain Giovanni Calderon said. “We are leaving a legacy at our school, which is honorable.”

The win is significant because it the first NCS banner for RCP (12-3-3), but also because it comes on the heels of the Tubbs fire that burned part of the RCP campus on Old Redwood Highway. Today, on a portion of the campus that still stands, there will be a school rally to celebrate the victory.

“The fires motivated us. The team did it for the school. Not many schools went through what we did and it made us stronger as a team and as a family,” RCP junior captain Jose Chavez said. “We made history by going to the playoffs and winning the championship. There is so much happiness; it is amazing for our school.”

The game was played on a saturated field, leading to choppy soccer and no scoring in two halves and two 10-minute overtime periods. The game went to penalty kicks, when both teams converted two in the first four rounds. RCP’s Oscar Aguirre slotted the fifth penalty kick on the ground to the left side and found the net. Anderson Valley (14-3-4) shot its fifth penalty kick attempt over the crossbar to end the contest.

“It was a very sloppy game. Not the prettiest soccer,” RCP coach Tomas Salinas said. “But you take a win any way you can get it.”

Anderson Valley coach Adrian Maldonado congratulated RCP, but said it was a disappointing way to lose.

“Especially when you are freezing and soaking wet for three hours. It almost wasn’t even soccer,” Maldonado said. “We are good at keeping possession so the wet field hurt us a little bit, but both teams played in the same conditions.”

Both teams had a few scoring chances, but the sloppy conditions lead to uneven offense overall.

“Neither team created much on offense. It was hard to put together passes when it was so wet,” Maldonado said. “It was a tough game for both teams. Roseland made their last penalty kick and we didn’t.”

Salinas said the field conditions didn’t favor either team, but did impact the game.

“In the first half, Anderson Valley had more opportunities than we did,” Salinas said. “In the second half and in the overtimes it went back and forth. It was really an even matchup. It was a toss-up, but somebody had to win.”

Roseland University Prep 1, Fortuna 0

The visiting fourth-seeded Knights (18-2) gutted out a tough Division 1 boys semifinal upset victory against the top-seeded Huskies (21-1-3), dealing NCS defending champion Fortuna its first loss in nearly two seasons.

“This was a huge win against a quality opponent,” RUP coach Tino Fonzeca said. “The field was chopped up and that helped us, to be honest, because it slowed Fortuna down.”

RUP will host seventh-seed Gateway (San Francisco) on Saturday at a venue and time to be determined.

RUP scored the game’s lone goal in the 25th minute on a long assist from Jose Pineda to Brian Cruz, who touched it a few times, then buried to the left far post from 15 yards out.

“It was a great goal and great pass from Pineda,” Fonzeca said. “Toward the end, Fortuna was coming at us. They brought the kitchen sink and our defense and goalie played well. We were just trying to hang on in the end.”

Fortuna held a 12-5 edge in shots, but Knights goalie Alan Arquieta was a stone wall, blocking 10 shots — five of which would have been goals.

“Arquieta had phenomenal saves,” Fonzeca said. “He kept us in the game. It’s the best I’ve ever seen him play.”

Eureka 6, Technology 3

The magic run came to an end for the visiting fifth-seeded Titans in a Division I semifinal loss.

With the game tied 2-2 at halftime, the No. 1-seed Loggers (19-1-1) exploded in the second half for four goals to put the game away.

Technology coach Melissa Knoll said the muddy field had a lot of large puddles, which Eureka was able to play to its advantage since the Loggers been practicing on it.

“We are a big possession team, so the field condition definitely affected us,” Knoll said. “We made a couple of mistakes in the second half that cost us goals. Once Eureka got up, it was hard for us to come back.”

The Titans (18-4) had a costly own goal in the 55th minute to give the Loggers a commanding 4-2 lead.

“That own goal kind of broke us and was the nail in the coffin,” said Knoll, who is optimistic her team will come back stronger next season. “This is the farthest any team at Tech High has ever gotten in the NCS playoffs and I am extremely proud of all of my girls and everything we have accomplished.”