In an epic battle with their longtime Sonoma County League rival for a chance to claim a piece of the SCL crown, the Sonoma Valley High School varsity soccer boys turned in, arguably, their best overall performance of the regular season against defending champion Analy last Thursday on the high school field.
Facing a must-win, and not tie, season finale, the Dragons were locked in a well-played, but scoreless showdown with visiting Analy that featured both evenly matched sides each having their chances to forge ahead with a goal to break the deadlock.
But neither side could break through in regulation time as Sonoma goalie Jose “Ángel” Garcia and Tiger goalkeeper Omar Coronel were flawless in front of the nets behind a pair of tough, shutdown defenses. The match moved into overtime, when neither side could score in the first extra 10-minute period.
As the Dragons continued applying offensive pressure with open-field runs at the Analy net, they finally broke through on a crossing pass by Anthony García that turned into an assist, as fellow senior Miguel Guillén connected with the ball traveling past the goal mouth and unleashed a kick that sealed the 1-0 SCL co-title win.
On Sunday, the postseason North Coast Section championship brackets were released and the SCL co-champion Dragon boys, finishing with a 10-2 league record and having a 14-6-1 overall mark, were seeded eighth in Division-1.
The Dragons will host ninth-seed Santa Rosa (13-6-3) in an NCS playoffs opener at 7 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, at Arnold Field, with the winner playing top-seed Montgomery (16-3-2) in a quarterfinal match in Santa Rosa this Saturday, Nov. 9.
Rounding out the NCS Division-1 field are second-seed Tamalpais (13-4-8), third-seed Redwood (12-2-1), fourth-seed Casa Grande (12-4-1, fifth-seed Terra Linda (15-5-2), sixth-seed Maria Carrillo (10-6-4), seventh-seed Analy (18-2-1), 10th-seed Rancho Cotate (11-8-1), 11th-seed Elsie Allen (12-8), 12th-seed Fortuna (13-4), 13th-seed Sir Francis Drake (10-9-3), 14th-seed Petaluma (10-8-2) and 15th-seed Arcata (10-5-2)
Sonoma’s varsity soccer boys – directed by longtime head coach Pedro Merino and assistant coach Mike Linder – consist of seniors García, Guillén Andy Chávez, Paco Martínez, Brian Ruiz, Alejandro Echeverría, Anthony Echeverría, Max Floerke and Zack Thompson; juniors Rodrigo Bernal, Brian Casillas, Gregorio De la Cruz, Jose “Ángel” Garcia, Chris Molina, Edgardo Pontz, Sam Sonheim and Alexis Zamudio; sophomores Haliel Juárez, Teodoro Magaña and Edwin Reyes; and freshman Alfredo Ramírez.
Sonoma’s varsity soccer girls recently finished their SCL season with a 6-4 third-place record and 6-7 overall mark, and on Sunday were seeded 12th for NCS Division-1 play and will face fifth-seed Casa Grande (9-7-1) in a 5 p.m. first-round match in Petaluma tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 6.
Rounding out the NCS Division-1 girls field are top-seed Maria Carrillo (17-0-1), second-seed Montgomery (17-2), third-seed Petaluma (12-3), fourth-seed Analy (15-2), sixth-seed Cardinal Newman (8-8-2), seventh-seed Arcata (18-3), eighth-seed Windsor (8-8-1), ninth-seed Rancho Cotate (10-9-3), 10th-seed Eureka (11-5-1), 11th-seed Fortuna (9-9-2), and 13th-seed El Molino (6-12).
Comprising the Lady Dragons, coached by Julio Leon, are seniors Ellen Angeloni, Brenna Hamilton, Maria Hawing, Kirsten Hodgson, Katy Marioni and Megan Neely; juniors Maddie Dougherty, Shelley Marmaduke, Emily Miller, Monica Ramirez and Christen Silkey; sophomores Bella Bollman, Lilyanna Carranza-Lugg, Annie Greenslade, Brigette Vanoni and Mia Vanoni; and freshmen Alanna Johnston, Annie Lilenthal, Lena Mallett, Hayden Pearce and Katie Stovall.
In one recent final nonleague match last Tuesday in Santa Rosa, the Sonoma girls dropped a 1-0 decision to a strong Sonoma Academy team, which finished with an 18-1 record.