Boys’ soccer ties Mountain View in disheartening match

Avi Srinivasan, Senior Staff Writer

Paly senior Christopher Chen shields the ball from his defender by the Spartans’ goal during the Vikings’ home game on Friday against the Spartans. Despite their valiant efforts, the Vikings ended the game with a tie. However, according to coach Rusty Millard, the team’s performance was a noticeable improvement compared to past games. “Last week we came off a couple brutal 2-1 defeats,” Millard said. “So we took the weekend to kind of just take some time off to recover a little bit both physically and emotionally. But, this week we came back at it and I couldn’t be more proud of the guys.” Photo: Avi Srinivasan

After losing its past two games, the Palo Alto High School varsity boys’ soccer team (0-3-2) drew against the Mountain View Spartans (1-4-1), 1-1, on Friday during a home game. 

As the last place team out of the seven in the De Anza League, the winless Vikings were hoping to beat the Spartans and knock them out of sixth place. According to senior goalkeeper Teg Singh, the team headed into the match determined to redeem themselves from a series of defeats last week.

“We haven’t been performing the way we wanted to these last few games,” Singh said. “So we saw this as a must-win game.”

During the first half of the match, the score remained 0–0, with both teams making close runs to the opposite sides of the field. However, neither team was able to find the back of the net due to a strong showing from each teams’ defense. 

At the start of the second half, the Vikings picked up momentum after senior Soham Narang scored off of a penalty kick, establishing a 1-0 lead over the Spartans. Nonetheless, the Spartans retaliated, scoring their first goal to tie the game a few minutes later.

Towards the end of the match, the Vikings managed to place the ball in the net again — however, the would-be goal was discounted after a foul was called on the Vikings for scoring the goal by kicking the ball out of the Spartans’ goalkeeper’s hands. In the end, the Vikings were unable to procure their first victory of the season in a disappointing tie game.

Sophomore defender Jonas Pao said that despite the result, the team played well in contrast to its past games.

“We played much better than we had [been playing],” Pao said. “Especially much better than when we played Homestead. I feel like we had a real hand on the play and we came out strong.”

Head coach Rusty Millard said he was extremely pleased with the players’ performance and views the result as an indication of their collective persistence. 

“I couldn’t be more proud,” Millard said. “I couldn’t have asked for anything more. The spirit there at the end even if it went 1–1 [shows that] the desire levels keep going forward and almost pulled out.”

The team plans to continue its perseverant nature in future games, according to Singh.

“Desire levels are going to be way higher,” Singh said. “This was our must-win game and we didn’t get the result we wanted, and this is a team that plays with a vengeance when we don’t get the results.”

The Vikings were to play against the Gunn Titans at 7 p.m. Tuesday at home.