Boys’ soccer encounters hiccups but gears up for a comeback

January 31, 2023 — by Victoria Lin and Daniel Wu
The varsity boys soccer team poses for a photo prior to their home game against Fremont on Jan. 24.
Although the boys’ soccer team met unfavorable conditions, players have maintained high spirits and trained rigorously in hopes of seizing victory in upcoming matches.

After dropping into the El Camino league, the Falcons began their season with an electric 2-0 victory against rival Los Gatos on Dec. 15. Since then, however, the Falcons have stumbled in the first half of the league season, achieving a 2-3-2 record as of Jan. 25. 

The Falcons tied 0-0 in their game on Jan. 24 at home against Fremont. They won 4-3 vs. Lynbrook on Jan. 17 during an away game and lost 1-0 against Monta Vista on Jan. 13 at home. The Falcons’ loss against Monta Vista was attributed to Saratoga underestimating their defense, which enabled the Matadors to slot a goal in near the end of the match.

Team captain and right back Dylan Sinton said illness and injury have hindered the team’s progress. He mentioned that key players have often been unable to attend practices. As a result, on-field coordination has proven a struggle.

“Luck simply isn’t by our side, and despite our rigorous training, practices have been difficult when not everyone can show up. The first half of the season is crucial to build cohesion between the team, and we’ve simply been unable to,” Sinton said.

Also hurting the Falcons’ progress in early January was atmospheric river conditions that dumped huge amounts of rain in the area. Practices were either held in the stormy conditions with players braving the wet and cold or canceled altogether. 

Significant improvement has been seen with the underclassmen on the team, who have substituted for the lack of returning juniors. Junior center midfielder Mohit Gandluru believes the heavy strength and endurance training, which the team has incorporated into daily practices, has greatly increased the intensity at which the underclassmen can play at.

“During the first few practices, a lot of the underclassmen were struggling to handle the ball and maneuver at the pace of the other players,” Gandluru said. “But we’ve effectively transformed them into formidable players who can apply constant pressure and defend when necessary.”

With sunny skies on the horizon and players gradually returning to the field, Sinton said the team is prepared for the second half with camaraderie among teammates at a high. Sinton himself has led practices by doubling down on drillwork to help identify and improve weaknesses.

The team hopes to avenge their loss against Monta Vista when they play again on Feb. 2, which should push them closer to securing a CCS playoff.

“Our momentum is strong, and we’re definitely making it out of the woods,” Sinton said. “I’ve seen significant improvement in terms of on-field cooperation, so I’m expecting smooth sailing from here on out.”

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