Prep roundup: Montgomery boys' win streak ends in tie with Rancho Cotate
The Montgomery boys soccer team came into Friday night’s North Bay League-Oak Division regular-season finale with an unblemished record and was the heavy favorite against Rancho Cotate. However, the script didn’t go as planned for the visiting Vikings, as the second-place Cougars played a gritty game that ended in a 1-1 tie. It was the only game of the 20 that Montgomery has played in which the Vikings didn’t score at least two goals.
Montgomery (19-0-1, 9-0-1), which had already won the NBL-Oak regular season, came into the game ranked 42nd in the nation and sixth in California by MaxPreps. The Vikings defeated the Cougars (6-7-4, 4-2-4) 2-0 in their first meeting. Friday’s rematch was a different story.
“Rancho played with a lot of heart and hustle. They outworked us at times. This one felt like a little bit of a loss,” Montgomery coach Jon Schwan said. “It’s better that this happened tonight than next week (in the North Coast Section playoffs). We will learn from this and get better.”
The Cougars, playing at home on senior night, came out with high energy and converted a penalty kick by Alex Sandoval in the 20th minute for a 1-0 lead.
“This is probably the best any team has played against Montgomery all season,” Rancho Cotate coach Nick Rogers said. “The first half we were pretty dominant.”
Rancho Cotate’s Jonathan Valencia was ejected from the game in the 50th minute after a last-man tackle from behind, giving Montgomery a man advantage for the game’s final 30 minutes.
“Once the red card happened, Montgomery turned the tide,” Rogers said. “We closed up the middle a little bit more (after the penalty). Our defending was phenomenal today.”
Montgomery’s Drayden Ponte scored the equalizer in the 70th minute on a free kick from 25 yards out to salvage the tie for the Vikings. Montgomery had a 17-6 advantage in shots.
“We created chances to score throughout the game but we just didn’t capitalize on our opportunities,” Schwan said. “Nobody is crying for us and we aren’t crying for ourselves.”
Piner 2, Maria Carrillo 0
In a battle for the league title in the final game of the season in the NBL-Redwood, the host Prospectors (12-2-4, 8-1-3) defeated the Pumas (13-4-3, 8-3-1) to lock up the regular-season championship.
“Piner is a very talented team. They are senior-laden. They are fast and have quality at every position. They don’t have many weaknesses,” Maria Carrillo coach Trevor Brady said. “You are always disappointed when you don’t win the league, but I was definitely pleased overall with our effort.”
Maria Carrillo missed a penalty kick in the 28th minute as Piner goalie Luis Quiroz stopped the shot.
“Luis played a phenomenal game. He played at a championship level. He was absolutely dominant,” Piner coach Sean Sutherland said. “Luis’ stopping that penalty kick definitely changed the momentum.”
Piner took the lead 1-0 after Sergio Villagomes converted a 6-yard shot off a loose ball from a cross on a counter-attack in the 50th minute.
“In the middle of the chaos on a loose ball, Sergio put it in the corner of the net,” Sutherland said.
Maria Carrillo brought its entire team to Piner’s defensive third of the field in the last five minutes of the game to try and get the equalizer. However, the gambit did not pay off, as Piner’s Diego Gutierrez scored on a 30-yard shot into an open net in the game’s final minute for the Piner victory.