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Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

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Varsity boys soccer overcomes Pinewood 3-1

Forward+Ryder+Hewitt+%2810%29+steers+the+ball+away+from+the+sideline.+The+team+currently+holds+an+overall+record+of+5-10-1.+
Jessica Hu
Forward Ryder Hewitt (10) steers the ball away from the sideline. The team currently holds an overall record of 5-10-1.

The varsity boys soccer team clinched a 3-1 victory over Pinewood at home on Jan. 24. 

In the first half of the match, the Panthers secured a point as they crossed the ball into the 6-yard box, kicking a shot that rebounded off an Eagle’s knee into the goal. 

The unexpected goal from the Panthers spurred the Eagles to level the score. Seizing an opportunity after a throw-in by co-captain and defender Ryan Barth (12), midfielder Cyrus Ghane (10) capitalized on the opening between rival defenders, bringing the score to 1-1. 

“We didn’t come out too strong at the start,” Cyrus said. “Especially since we went down a goal in the first half, I felt that we really needed a goal to restart the momentum and increase our energy.”

In an attempt to counter, the Panthers sought to exploit openings in the Eagles’ defensive line. Their efforts manifested two scoring attempts, both thwarted by saves from goalkeeper Mikhil Kiran (10). The Eagles adhered to their high-press offensive strategy, exerting pressure immediately upon losing possession and forcing mistakes in rival defenders to win back possession.

“We had a lot of our main players on the bench for various reasons,” Mikhil said. “We subbed a few of them on at the start of the second half, and from there, the team’s morale got better.”

Shortly after halftime, a Panther passed the ball near the goalie box, intending for a defender to clear the ball. In the Eagles’ favor, the misguided kick redirected the ball toward captain and attacking midfielder Jack Yang (12), granting him a successful open shot on goal. 

Pinewood consistently executed long kicks, enabling them to regain possession and exploit weaknesses in the Eagles’ defense. Jack suggests a potential countermeasure that the Eagles could have implemented to neutralize the opponents’ recurring tactic.

“Whenever the Panthers kicked the ball over our last line of defense, they were able to get to it before our defenders,” Jack said. “That’s probably one of our biggest weaknesses as a team, which they exploited pretty well in this game, especially because they have a fast winger and a center back to kick it over. To prevent this from happening, our defensive line could back peddle ten yards, so they get a headstart against their fast winger once they kick a long ball.”

The Eagles persisted in applying pressure, making two more attempts to score. In a decisive play, Jack maneuvered through the Panthers’ defenders and delivered a precise long shot from beyond the 18-yard box, scoring a third goal for the Eagles. In Pinewood’s pursuit to approach the opposing goal, they faced resistance from the Eagles’ defensive formation. 

English teacher Tia Barth attended to watch both her students and her son Ryan play. She comments on the team’s improvement since the start of the league and their consistent success in recent games.

“The boys had a rough start to the league, and now they’ve won the last three in a row, so they’ve had some forward momentum,” Barth said. “It’s exciting and fun to watch them string some wins together.”

Co-captain and attacking midfielder Jack Yang (12) receives a pass from an Eagle. “Whenever the Panthers kicked the ball over our last line of defense, they were able to get to it before our defenders,” Jack said. “That’s probably one of our biggest weaknesses as a team, which they exploited pretty well in this game, especially because they have a fast winger and a center back to kick it over. (Jessica Hu)

Mikhil hopes the team will work more cohesively as they progress through the rest of the season. The team began hosting team lunches before games to foster a tighter environment. 

“We need to work on being more like a team rather than a bunch of players trying to play together,” Mikhil said. “If we do that, then we’ll become a much better team in this league.”

The team currently holds an overall record of 5-10-1. They play Eastside College Prep next in a home game on Monday for senior night. 

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About the Contributors
Aryana Bharali, Humans of Harker Profiler
Aryana Bharali (11) is a Humans of Harker profiler for Harker Aquila and the Winged Post, and this is her third year on staff. This year, she hopes to shoot more events and interview more people on campus. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music and spending time with friends and family.
Jessica Hu, Reporter
Jessica Hu (10) is a reporter for Harker Aquila, and this is her second year on staff. This year, Jessica aims to build confidence in both her writing and in her social skills. She hopes she'll be able to converse intelligently with those scary, scary journalism upperclassmen. In her free time, you'll find her perusing Wikipedia articles about linguistics, solving math problems and arguing about manga with her friends.

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