Boys Varsity soccer misses crucial goal against Redwood

Senior striker Owen Benson takes a free kick from just outside the 18 yard box, which was saved by the goalie.

Jackson Oliver-Roa

Senior striker Owen Benson takes a free kick from just outside the 18 yard box, which was saved by the goalie.

AWHS boys Varsity soccer faced off against Redwood High School Tuesday, Feb. 1 in a must-win game. If they had beat Redwood on Tuesday, AWHS would have been one step closer to securing a Marin County Athletic League (MCAL) playoff spot. The Falcons had defeated the Giants 2-1 earlier in the season, but in this critical game the Giants flipped the result and defeated the Falcons with a score of 1-2.

Neither team had control of the game for the first 10 minutes of the first half, but AWHS was able to get a shot on goal, forcing Redwood’s goalie to make a save. 14 minutes into the game Redwood scored the first goal after a shot slipped past AWHS senior goalie Zach Castrejon. The rest of the first half drifted by with neither team able to gain a chance to score. The Falcons went into halftime trailing the Giants 0-1.

The second half started with AWHS launching a steady attack off the back of a high press. Senior striker Owen Benson was able to get behind the Redwood defense and score a goal to tie the game 1-1, but was called offside, so the goal did not count. The Giants mounted an attack and scored from a shot that originally appeared to be a cross.

“Redwood got super lucky with their two goals,” said senior defender Zack Lillington.

Being two goals down, the Falcons pushed their defenders and midfielders up the pitch in hope of scoring a quick goal to cut the deficit in half. AWHS won a corner kick after a steady stream of possession in the offensive third, and Owen was able to get his head on the end of a cross and head it into the back of the net. 

After scoring, both Owen and Zack had plenty of shots on the goal, including one from Owen forcing the goalie to make a save. The rebound from the save fell back to Owen causing Redwood’s goalie to make an extraordinary double save.

“I am at ease with how we played, we controlled the game and possession of the ball,” said coach Rene Ayala. “I give credit to the Redwood defense and their goalkeeper made some amazing saves.”

With 11 minutes left in the game, a ball went out of bounds and Zack tossed it at a Redwood player, leading to a yellow card for Zack. At the seven minute mark, Zack attempted to win the ball back, but ended up making contact with the Redwood player. This caused him to get a second yellow card, which resulted in Zack being shown a red card. After the red card and Zack’s ejection, the Falcons had to play the remaining seven minutes with one less player than Redwood.

AWHS was unable to get another good chance to score, and the Giants closed out the game with a 2-1 victory.

“With the two yellow cards, the game just got to me,” Zack said. “So many emotions left me reckless, and I made stupid decisions. I hurt the team and now all I can do is cheer the boys on.”

AWHS faced off against Marin Catholic High School on Thursday, Feb. 3 at Marin Catholic. To get into the playoffs the Falcons need to beat Marin Catholic, and then need other results to go their way. With Terra Linda High School losing to San Rafael High School on Tuesday, Feb. 1, AWHS needed Redwood to beat Terra Linda High on Thursday, Feb. 3. 

AWHS got the job done against Marin Catholic with a win, but sadly Redwood lost to Terra Linda High School Thursday Feb. 3. AWHS will not be in MCAL playoffs this year but will continue in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF).