Boys’ soccer team looks forward after going undefeated in pre-season games

January 7, 2011 — by Anshu Siripurapu

After making it through their pre-season games undefeated, the boys’ soccer team lost its first regular season game to Palo Alto 4-1 on Jan. 5.

Junior forward Troy Doles scored the team’s only goal to tie the game at 1-1, but defensive lapses allowed the Vikings to put the game out of reach. However, junior defender and captain Manish Raghavan gave a stirring effort as he made multiple one-on-one stops on Palo Alto break-aways. Despite the score, the game was well fought and the score was close for the majority of the game.

“We had a lot of injuries,” said Raghavan. “Three of our starters were unable to play and we just didn’t play our best.”

The three starters were junior defenders Jon Junqua and Stanton Ho, and junior forward Javier Llera.

This year, the team has advanced to the tougher De Anza “A” league, pitting them against the best schools in the league. The top three schools from the A league automatically qualify for CCS.

“Our team strategy hasn’t changed much from last year,” said senior and outside midfielder Onie Wongkham. “We still have [junior] Troy Doles to carry the offense.”

The team has had to make slight modifications to its defense to account for the stronger teams of the De Anza Division. The team now has four backs as opposed to the usual three.

“We had to step up our defense since we moved up a league,” said Raghavan. “The teams we face now are much more aggressive with their offense.”

The team’s strong defense is led by Raghavan, Junqua and Ho, all juniors. Ho’s ankle injury may hurt the team’s performance but he is on his way to recovery.
The team’s offense is led by Doles along with juniors Rajiv Ramakabir, Nabil Arbouz and Llera.

“Troy is crazy fast,” said Raghavan. “He tied up a game for us [against Harbor] by scoring two goals in five minutes.”

Injuries aside, the team will still benefit greatly from the fact that all but one of their players are returning. The team’s chemistry is excellent since players have been together for one year already, something that will undoubtedly contribute to successes later on.

“We all know each other’s playing strengths,” said Raghavan. “We’re definitely looking for a win against Santa Clara, and I’m confident in our chances at playoffs.”

Due to printing deadlines, the Jan. 7 game against Santa Clara could not be covered, but check online for coverage at www.saratogafalcon.org.

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