The Leigh Longhorns and the Los Gatos Wildcats kicked off the Valley Health Plan High School Soccer Series under the lights of Avaya Stadium, Monday evening. The Longhorns were looking for the sweep following a 2-0 victory by the girls, but the Wildcats were too much to handle in the first half, in a 2-1 Los Gatos victory.
“It’s great experience for the players, definitely motivates them and keeps them focused,” said Los Gatos head coach Bradford Radonich II. “It was a revenge game for us because they beat us last year .”
It only took the Wildcats eight minutes to take the lead. With 32:20 to go in the first half, Rohan Maheshwari found a ball that was centered in front of the Longhorn goal, controlled it with his knee and drilled it past four-year goalkeeper Jeron Rojas to give his team the lead. After another 20 minutes of back and forth soccer, Maheshwari centered the ball to Andrew Fund, who found the back of the goal, giving his team a 2-0 lead heading into half.
The Longhorns came out hungry in the second half, looking to close the gap. After a 30 minutes of competitive, aggressive soccer, the Longhorns finally got a break when Gen Maeshiro was tripped in the box, giving his team a penalty kick. Senior Adam Czerny drilled it past the Wildcat goalkeeper, cutting the lead to one goal with 5:40 remaining.
“That is the way things have been going for us all year,” Radonich said. “ We have started strong and then give a goal up late.”
The next five minutes had its fair share of flopping and yellow cards because both times were thirsty for a win, but the stellar Wildcat defense kept Leigh from scoring.
“It is high school teenagers, so you can’t really expect us to keep things down in the heat of the moment,” said Wildcat captain Tommy Kharisov. “At least it was not a red card, it was just a couple of yellows so I think we can be happy about that.”
The Wildcats hope to use the momentum of their Monday night win to remain undefeated when they travel to face Branham on Saturday. The Longhorns, on the other hand, look for their first win in the next few weeks.
“Beginning of the game we did not bring the intensity that we should have brought. Los Gatos came out strong” said Leigh head coach Mario Farfan. “It took us 60 minutes to get these guys playing the way they normally play. I expect these guys to play at a high level and we did not do that until the last 10 minutes of the game.”