Falcons clash with Giants in MCAL Championship

Seniors Micah Arnold (24) and Elliot Smith (18) walk off field following Redwoods MCAL Championship 0-1 win over Archie Williams on Feb. 10.
Seniors Micah Arnold (24) and Elliot Smith (18) walk off field following Redwood’s MCAL Championship 0-1 win over Archie Williams on Feb. 10.
Luca Roy

On Saturday, Feb. 10, the Archie Williams Falcons played against the Redwood Giants at San Rafael High School in the boys soccer Marin County Athletic League (MCAL) Championship game. The Falcons came into the game as the second-place team in MCAL just behind the first-placed Giants. The defense on both sides was stout but thanks to a late goal, Redwood won the championship with a final score of 0-1.

“Our tactic of not allowing Redwood to build up through the midfield and forcing them to play predictable long balls disrupted them and prevented them from getting into a rhythm offensively,” said head coach Rene Ayala. “Unfortunately we could not execute and not finishing our opportunities hurt us.”

Archie Williams boys varsity soccer line up for the national anthem before their game on Feb. 10. (Luca Roy)

The Giants started with control over the ball for the majority of the first half. Their controlled possession led to good shots offensively but the Archie Williams defense held until the end of the half, not letting up any goals in the first half.

Redwood continued to maintain the majority of possession in the second half. The Giants offense was getting great opportunities including a free kick however Falcons’ sophomore goalie Aidan Dunn was not letting anything past him.

Archie Williams senior Cole Sullivan races past a Redwood defender, looking for a passing opportunity. (Luca Roy)

As only 12 minutes remained in the game, Giants’ striker Thomas Griffin hit a shot just outside the penalty box and into the top right corner of the goal. With the Falcons season on the line, they were trying whatever they could to get a goal. Unfortunately, after many unsuccessful attempts made by Archie Williams’ offense, the game ended and the Giants won 1-0.

“Being in the MCAL finals for the first time in 14 years is honestly amazing and playing in the finals was something special. I owe it all to my defensive backline and our amazing forwards and midfielders,” Aidan said. 

Archie Williams junior Jake Morrison works his way through Redwood’s defense. (Luca Roy)

This was the Falcons final game in the MCAL season. They begin their North Coast Section (NCS) season as the seventh seed in the bracket. They will host the tenth-seeded Campolindo Cougars, on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

“We feel that we can compete with anyone in NCS and look forward to the opportunity. We won the tournament a couple of years ago. Our boys are battle-tested and I am sure we will represent MCAL and our school the right way,” Ayala said. 

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