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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Boys’ soccer: Slip-ups don’t preclude playoff chances

After two disappointing results midseason, the 2-2-3 soccer team has to dust itself off and prepare to fight, as the next games will determine the outcome of the season.
The team lost 3-1 at home to league leaders Santa Clara on Jan. 30, with the Bruins’ lone striker scoring three goals in 13 minutes. The team also dropped points against the Mountain View Spartans on Jan. 25, suffering a tough 6-0 loss on the road. 
The team experimented with different lineups throughout the game, switching between four and five midfielders. The Spartans found and exploited holes in the Falcon defense, an important flaw that is imperative the team fixes. 
“We need to refocus and concentrate for these next games,” junior center midfielder Sam Guy said. “I think we’ll have a good chance at playoffs.”
The Falcons had previously tied Los Altos on home turf 1-1 on Jan. 23 as senior forward Keaton Matusich equalized in the final moments of the game. Though the team was able to take one point from the game, it was a disappointing performance.
“In the Los Altos game everyone was doing the right thing, but as a team, our touch was off,” junior Andrew Firth said. “Moving forward, I think we need to build more and put passes together instead of playing kickball.”
The Falcons need to win all three of the remaining games in order  to safely qualify for CCS playoffs postseason. However, simply making playoffs is not enough.
 Coach Adam Clarke has simply had bad luck as the team qualified for CCS three years in a row and lost each first match. Last year, the team was missing alumni center defender Manish Raghavan due to injury and center midfielder Jonathan Junqua due to suspension. Though the team had many high-caliber substitute players, the team morale took a big hit.
“I think we’ll do better than we have in the past,” Guy said. “Last year’s [first round playoff loss] was bad luck.”
Currently, the team faces no debilitating injuries as it pushes on for a playoff berth. Firth, returning from a minor ankle injury, has rejoined the backline. Senior Fred Feyzi is recovering from a minor foot injury as well.
 In addition, the team has been featuring a dual goalkeeping lineup. Junior Bobby Tooyserkani and senior Cameron Schmelzer are frequently switched in and out of the goal, both playing around a half game each. Tooyserkani provides agility and Schmelzer brings experience. 
The team hosts Gunn on Feb. 6 and visits Los Gatos on Feb. 8 in the last game of the season. Both teams stand in lower positions than the Falcons, but wins are crucial and both games will be struggles.
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