By Ryan Maquiñana
Special to S.F. Examiner
The San Francisco Glens Soccer Club of USL League Two are proud to partner with the Examiner in featuring boys’ and girls’ high school soccer in The City every Sunday. Vote now for the San Francisco High School Boys’ and Girls’ Player of the Year on SFGlens.com.
Sacred Heart Cathedral’s dream weekend continued on Saturday.
Less than 24 hours after their boys’ basketball team sent shockwaves through the local prep landscape by winning the Central Coast Section Open Division title, both the Fighting Irish boys’ and girls’ soccer squads traveled to Del Mar High School in San Jose and captured the CCS Division III crowns for the second consecutive season.
“It’s just been an incredible 48 hours for our school with everything going on,” said first-year boys’ soccer head coach Mike McNeill. “This is definitely a historic moment we’ll remember for years to come.”
Meanwhile at San Francisco’s Paul Goode Field, the University High School boys saw their North Coast Section Division IV hopes end in the final at the hands of Marin Academy, a team that had failed to beat the Red Devils in three previous attempts.
All three City teams will now gear up for the Northern California Regional Championships.
GIRLS’ CCS DIVISION III FINAL: Sacred Heart Cathedral 2, Santa Cruz 1
In the morning, the Fighting Irish girls faced an early 1-0 deficit when Santa Cruz drew and converted a penalty kick in the 11th minute.
However, head coach Chris King’s attention to detail in training regarding set pieces came into play at the most opportune times of the game. Sacred Heart Cathedral equalized right before the halftime whistle when Sophie Simpson delivered a pinpoint corner kick to Gianna La Rocca, whose header found the back of the net.
After a tense 25 minutes to open the second half, the City school carved out a 2-1 advantage in the 70th minute. This time, the hero was senior forward Rhea Chan, who scored the go-ahead goal after another accurate corner kick from Simpson.
Santa Cruz then mustered assault after assault in the waning minutes, but a heavily pro-Irish crowd helped will them to victory. Sacred Heart Cathedral’s fortune in having both of their teams at the same venue allowed their supporters to consolidate ranks.
“It felt like we were back in The City,” McNeill added. “I can’t begin to describe how much of an impact our fans made in motivating both our teams on what should have felt like a neutral venue.”
BOYS’ CCS DIVISION III FINAL: Sacred Heart Cathedral 3, Wilcox 1
Last season, the Fighting Irish boys were awarded the CCS Division III trophy despite losing the title game because Mt. Pleasant used an ineligible player. This time around, Sacred Heart Cathedral would earn it on the field.
Much like the girls’ game, the Fighting Irish boys utilized set pieces to get on the board; Diego Grande struck first blood after gathering a free kick and slotting the service home for a 1-0 lead.
The scoring would cease until midway through the second half, when Alec Perliss collected another free kick in the box and hammered home the service to double Sacred Heart Cathedral’s lead.
Though the Santa Clara school would pull one back with a goal minutes later, Aidan Brasch would put the game away with roughly 12 minutes remaining for the Fighting Irish thanks to a cross from 25 yards out that slipped by the opposing goalkeeper for the final 3-1 margin.
“I don’t think many people believed we would be here, winning a trophy, after how we started the league in January,” McNeill said, referring to early 5-1 and 4-0 thumpings at the hands of Valley Christian and St. Ignatius, respectively. “But you have to hand it to our kids; they continued to believe in each other and wouldn’t give up.”
Now, both the Fighting Irish boys and girls await their NorCal seeding.
“We’ve faced adversity, but we’ve come together and put our all into this season,” Perliss said after the win. “We’re not done yet.”
BOYS’ NCS DIVISION IV FINAL: Marin Academy 2, University 0
For the better part of this season, University had gotten the best of Marin Academy. After a 0-0 draw, the Red Devils defeated the Wildcats 3-2 and then a 2-2 (4-3) victory on penalty kicks in the Bay Counties League West championship game.
The fourth try would be the charm for the North Bay team, which broke a halftime deadlock with two second-half goals to capture a 2-0 win and the NCS Division IV title over host University.
“[Marin Academy] pressed us a little bit higher and they were patient with the ball,” Red Devils head coach Deejae Johnson told the Marin Independent Journal following the loss. “They were opportunistic. Those are not goals that we normally give up. … They hadn’t had the lead on us (all season).”
University could get a crack at revenge if they meet the Wildcats in the NorCal regionals, but first the Red Devils will wait to see where they land in the bracket.
The San Francisco Glens are entering their second season in USL League Two, with new amenities at Boxer Stadium like the Carlsberg Beer Garden and Fan Zone, along with new pre-game and in-game entertainment. Learn more about the 2019 schedule, ticket information, and more at SFGlens.comor on Facebook,Twitter, and Instagram@SFGlensSC.