Knowing what it takes, and the feelings that go with it, to compete for, and, ultimately win, a major championship, the Valley’s Chris Daly was more than up to the challenge of captaining the Sonoma County Sol men’s semipro soccer team through an undefeated regular season and playoffs to reach the National Premier Soccer League title match.
Daly – a 2000 Sonoma Valley High School graduate and former collegiate soccer standout at Sonoma State University – fellow captain Lee Summerscales and their West Region champion Sol teammates, guided by coach Vinnie Cortezzo, battled South Region champ RVA Football Club in Richmond, Va., for the NPSL crown on Sunday.
Competing in their third NPSL championship match, having fallen short in 2005 before winning the title in 2009 with Daly also serving as captain, the Sonoma County Sol couldn’t find the net and ended up tasting defeat for the first time in the season and dropped a 2-0 decision.
To reach the NPSL championship match, Sonoma defeated the Sacramento Gold in the West Region final, then beat the San Diego Flash in the playoffs opener to advance to the final four, where the Sol edged the Northeast Region champion FC Lehigh Valley United Sonic from Pennsylvania 3-2 in a semifinal showdown.
In its semifinal match, finalist RVA Football Club upended the Midwest Region champ Lake Erie Admirals, which is the same team that the Sonoma County Sol nipped 2-1 in double-overtime in Madison, Wis., to win its first NPSL title in 2009.