Boys’ soccer to face Burlingame in preseason game

Sam Lee and Katie Cox

Senior center midfielder Charles Stoksik sprints to intercept a lofty pass during a preseason matchup against Menlo-Atherton on Dec. 6 at Paly.
Senior center midfielder Charles Stoksik sprints to intercept a lofty pass during a preseason matchup against Menlo-Atherton High School on Dec. 6 at Palo Alto High School. Paly won the match by a score of 1-0. Photo: Julia Qiao.

Senior center back and captain Neil Verwillow embraced his joyous teammates in celebration with an undeniable grin after scoring the first goal against Menlo-Atherton High School on Tuesday. It had only been five minutes into the first half, but the Palo Alto High School boys’ soccer team (4-0, 0-0) was suddenly in charge of the game with a one-goal lead. The game would end without any additional goals from either team, but Verwillow’s early goal was enough to extend the Vikings’ perfect record to four wins.

After the 1-0 victory against Menlo-Atherton, the Paly boys’ soccer team envisions continuing its undefeated preseason record against Burlingame High School at 6 p.m. today at home.

According to Verwillow, the Vikings feel ready for the upcoming match.

“The game for today shouldn’t be anything too challenging,” Verwillow said. “We are just coming off a win versus Menlo-Atherton, which is a CCS [Central Coast Section] caliber team every year. So while I can’t say for certain how good Burlingame is, I’ll be disappointed if we can’t pull out a win.”

Senior midfielder and captain Derek Schoenberger agreed with Verwillow’s expectations despite his lack of experience playing against Burlingame.

“I’m looking forward to the game today,” Schoenberger said. “I’ve never played Burlingame before in all four years at Paly, so it’s going to nice to see how well we can compete with a team we have no expectations for.”

Senior midfielder Ethan Ho said he believes that a key aspect to the team’s early success is warmly welcoming the underclassmen as part of the team.

“With the influx of new sophomores on the team, I think the chemistry in the team is surprisingly good, but this might be partially due to the fact that a lot of us all play on the same club team,” Ho said.

Senior left midfielder Yahli Malchin also credited the team’s sterling chemistry due to their comradery formed through outside club teams.

“We have a lot of guys from the same club team so we’re already really close from that and we play well together,” Malchin said. “Everyone has fun playing together and our chemistry is getting better each game.”

The Vikings prepared for this game the same way they have prepared for all their previous games, according to Schoenberger.

“We haven’t prepared for this game any different than the previous games,” Schoenberger said. “Like every game, all players are expected to be ready to step onto the field and fight to the last minute for the win. This idea doesn’t change depending on what team we’re playing, so our approach to every game shouldn’t change as well.”

Senior center midfielder Charles Stoksik echoed Schoenberger on the tactics to approaching the game.

“We haven’t done anything too special to prepare,” Stoksik said. “We had a tough and very physical game the day before, so we took it easy in practice by working on the fundamentals and finishing.”