Fresh off turning in their best overall performance of the season en route to capturing a Sonoma County League co-title in thrilling fashion in last week’s finale, the Sonoma Valley High School varsity soccer boys, unfortunately, began the postseason with their most disappointing match of the campaign.
In Wednesday night’s North Coast Section Division-1 opener at Arnold Field, the eighth-seeded Dragon boys hosted ninth-seeded Santa Rosa out of the North Bay League and, after controlling the early play, took a 1-0 lead 25 minutes into the match and nearly scored a second goal.
Then Sonoma collapsed into a series of defensive lapses that led to three straight goals by the visiting Panthers, two scores coming in a 48-second span near the end of the first half, to take a 3-1 lead at the break and, playing with momentum, opened up a daunting 5-1 advantage midway through the second half.
When it looked like the out-of-sync Dragons were done, they finally seized the momentum and staged a riveting rally down the stretch and tallied three straight goals before the NCS match, and their season, ran out of time. Santa Rosa escaped with a 5-4 win.
Pacing Sonoma were senior Anthony García’s pair of goals, senior Brian Ruiz’s goal and assist, and senior Andy Chávez’s free-kick goal with a minute left in the match.