Lowell holds off Mission to earn 25th straight AAA soccer win

Stephanie Trapp/Special to The ExaminerLowell’s Will Slotterback reins the ball in as the Cardinals scored three goals in an 11-minute span.

Stephanie Trapp/Special to The ExaminerLowell’s Will Slotterback reins the ball in as the Cardinals scored three goals in an 11-minute span.

Despite scoring the first three goals of the game on the road against Mission High School, Lowell’s 25th consecutive Academic Athletic Association victory was anything but comfortable.

Lowell senior captain Max Pollard scored three goals in an 11-minute span midway through the first half, and the Cardinals withstood a fervent second-half Mission surge to hold on for the 3-1 victory.

The Bears (6-5-3, 4-2-1) dominated the second half, outshooting Lowell 7-1, but could not erase the 3-1 halftime deficit.

“We dominated the second half, but if you look at the score, we got our [butts] kicked,” Mission coach Scott Kennedy said. “A lot of it’s luck, and we just don’t have any luck right now. I just wish we could generate that energy that we had in the second half in the first half.”

Lowell (8-0-1, 7-0-0) was noticeably on its heels late in the first half and for the entire second half, but it was Pollard’s early burst that ultimately was the difference. Pollard provided all of the Cardinals’ offense, but what may have been most impressive was the tremendous versatility he showed in each goal.

On the first goal in the 14th minute, Pollard slipped behind the Mission back line on a long ball from a Lowell defender and simply outran the Bears’ defenders, dodged oncoming goaltender Joacim Perez, then rifled a shot into the top half of the net.

The second came just four minutes later on a header off a corner kick from junior Avery Fisher and the third, in the 25th minute, came off a Mission turnover in its defensive third. Pollard intercepted a Mission pass and hit a low shot into the right-hand corner of the net to put the Cardinals up 3-0.

“I just try to get on the end of every ball,” Pollard said. “I just try to fight for every ball and hopefully the best comes out of that.”

The Bears struck back in the 30th minute, when Lowell goalkeeper Eduardo Camacho misplayed a centering pass and lost control of the ball, allowing Mission junior Ronny Bautista to chip in an easy goal.

Camacho bounced back after the mistake, though, and was the undisputed star for the Cardinals in the second half, turning aside seven Mission shots to hold off the second-half

“Eduardo is a very capable player and he did fantastic,” Estebez said. “We talked about asserting himself at halftime and I thought he did that fantastically. We needed him.”

Normally calm and reserved on the sideline, Estebez was visibly frustrated on Thursday and wasn’t shy about sharing those frustrations with his team.

“For 15 minutes in the first half and all of the second half, this was [Mission’s] game,” Lowell coach Marcos Estebez said. “It has been an unfortunate characteristic of this team and a bit of deja vu. For 70 minutes, we were outplayed, and that does not a championship team make.”

For Mission, which is holding a slim lead over O’Connell for the final playoff spot in the AAA’s Y Division, improvement is of utmost importance.

“My teams don’t fold,” Kennedy said. “We have more than half a season to go. A lot can happen, so we’ll see.”

Preps sports coverage provided in partnership by The San Francisco Examiner and www.SanFranPreps.com

AAAMission High SchoolPrep SportsSan Francisco

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Lowell High School is considered an academically elite public school. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Students denounce ‘rampant, unchecked racism’ at Lowell after slurs flood anti-racism lesson

A lesson on anti-racism at Lowell High School on Wednesday was bombarded… Continue reading

Members of the Sheriff’s Department command staff wear masks at a swearing-in ceremony for Assistant Sheriff Tanzanika Carter. One attendee later tested positive. (Courtesy SFSD)
Sheriff sees increase in COVID-19 cases as 3 captains test positive

Command staff among 10 infected members in past week

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23), shown here against the San Antonio Spurs at Chase Center on January 20, was ejected from Thursday night’s game on a technical foul after he yelled at a teammate during a play. (Chris Victorio for the S.F. Examiner).
Warriors 119-101 loss to Knicks highlights Draymond Green’s value

Team struggles with fouls, lack of discipline in play

Scooter companies have expanded their distribution in neighborhoods such as the Richmond and Sunset districts. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA board signs off on changes to scooter permit program

Companies will gete longer permits, but higher stakes

A health care worker receives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. (Go Nakamura/Getty Images/TNS)
City sets ambitious goal to vaccinate residents by June

Limited supply slows distribution of doses as health officials seek to expand access

Most Read