Boys soccer (1-0) defeated the San Marcos High School Knights (0-1) 3-1 in their season-opening match on Nov. 30, with forwards Ted Merrifield (11) and Tyler Weinrich (12) and midfielder Alec Philibbosian (11) all scoring goals.
“As a team, I thought we pushed the ball forward, created chances and, in the end, put the ball in the back of the net,” left wing and captain Grayson LeRose (12) said.
Possession was relatively balanced until nine minutes in, when San Marcos got its first chance to score. But defender Blake Munchnick (12) blocked the shot leading to a huge counterattack by the Falcons. Merrifield took the ball, dribbled down the middle past defenders and fired the ball past the goalie for the Falcons’ first goal.
“I definitely wanted to start out strong,” Merrifield said. “I was happy to get a goal in the first couple minutes and I think I played well. I could definitely get in shape but I think I did well.”
For the next ten minutes, the Falcons were not able to score until Connor Wood (12) threw the ball towards Weinrich, who fought for the ball, came out victorious and struck the ball into the bottom left corner of the net.
Despite San Marcos’ aggressive start, the Knights were starting to tire toward the end of the first half and the Falcons began to dominate possession. The Falcons became even more aggressive, trapping the Knights on their own side of the field.
With five minutes left in the half, San Marcos began to feverishly attack once more. The Falcons dug in defensively and were able to stave off the Knights’ attack, giving them a 2-0 halftime lead.
As soon as the whistle blew to start the second half, San Marcos ran the ball aggressively, but the Falcons defended against the Knights’ offensive pressure.Soon after, Merrfield surged past the San Marcos defense and forced a throw-in very close to the San Marcos goal. Wood threw the ball in and Philibbosian tapped the ball in lightly over the goalie, giving the Falcons their third goal. Shortly after the TPHS goal, the Knights dribbled to the end of the field and took a shot that narrowly missed. Falcons goalie, Nick Bello (12), dived and knocked the ball away.
After the attempt by San Marcos, the Knights continued to attack aggressively and took three consecutive shots. The Falcons defense blocked the first two, but the last one slipped by the goalie and sailed into the net. For the remainder of the second half, the Falcons focused more on defense and kept a consistent barrier between the goal and the Knights for the remainder of the game.
Even with the win, Assistant Coach Joel Kosakoff sees room for improvement.
“I think that the organization from the back to the midfield to the front we still need to continue to work on,” Kosakoff said. “Some of the guys said they need to work on their fitness … and their physicality.”
Merrifield agreed that the team needs to work on fitness, and LeRose said the team needs to work on passing.
“I think we could be a little cleaner from the back transitioning into the midfield,” LeRose said.
While LeRose thinks the team could benefit from “transitioning practices,” he was still proud of the way the Falcons played.
“[I] definitely could have put a goal into the back of the net, but hey, we came out with the win, and that’s all that we wanted,” LeRose said.
Kosakoff sees the first game as necessary to understanding the team dynamics and the abilities of first time varsity players.
“When it’s the first game of the season, you’re trying to figure out as a coach who goes where,” Kosakoff said. “We also have a lot of good young talent up from the JV team, so we’re just trying to see how all the pieces fit together.”
Boys soccer topped the Cathedral High School Phantoms 3-1 at home on Dec. 5.