Boys Varsity soccer advances to the semifinal of Northern California State on penalty kicks

The team runs towards Zach after he makes the winning save.

Photo Courtesy of AWHS Athletics

The team runs towards Zach after he makes the winning save.

The AWHS boys varsity team, more commonly known as the  “Bleach Boys,” narrowly beat Richmond High School (RHS) Tuesday, Mar 1. The game went into overtime due to late goals by both teams in regular time, then into penalty kicks (PKs) to determine a winner. Due to a winning save, AWHS managed to pull off a win in their first round of Northern California state games. 

The game started off well for AWHS, scoring a goal 20 minutes into the game and dominating possession. However, about 25 minutes in, a shoulder bump by junior Anton Dellavalle earned him a red card. The team visibly disagreed with the call. 

“The red card affected us mainly by changing our style of play, and with one player down, we were at a huge disadvantage and had to completely change how we ran the game,” said senior center back Zack Lilington

After that, RHS scored a goal to even the score at 1-1. The resulting momentum shift allowed RHS to maintain possession more often and to have more chances and shots off than AWHS. AWHS, because they were a man down, had to fully change their formation and lineup . Certain players’ roles were changed drastically, for example, some players had to cover much more distance. 

In the final minutes of the game, RHS scored another goal, making the score 1-2 in RHS’s favor. A minimal amount of stoppage time was then added, and AWHS senior Owen Benson managed to score a goal at the last moment. This leveled the score to 2-2, resulting in the game going into overtime. 

“Going into overtime, we chose to be aggressive and look to win the game, rather than taking a conservative, defensive approach. Although we didn’t score in the overtime period, our intention to be aggressive gave us some momentum and confidence,” said boys varsity soccer coach Rene Ayala. 

During overtime, neither team scored, causing the game to go into PKs. AWHS had possession for a large portion of overtime but was unable to find the back of the net and finish off the game. 

RHS missed multiple PKs and senior goalkeeper Zach Castrenon made the difference with a decisive save.  

“It didn’t play out the way we wanted it, but we were able to finish it off in penalty kicks,” said senior defender George Dick. 

The team plays Thursday, Mar. 3 in the semifinals of the Northern California State tournament and hopes to advance onto the finals.

Senior Goalkeeper Zach Castronon wins the game with a victorious save during the final round of penalty kicks. (Photo Courtesy of AWHS Athletics)