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Vikings outplay Bruins in first league victory

Palo Alto High School Viking senior right back Dominic Profit keeps the ball away from a Santa Clara High School Bruins defender during the boy’s varsity soccer game on Thursday. The Vikings defeated the Bruins, 2-0, for their first league victory, giving them a chance to qualify for the CCS at the end of the league. According to Viking head coach David Light, there is a lot to be hopeful about for the Vikings in the near future. “We had a lot of passion, a lot of hard work, a lot of fun, and a lot of unity in the game,” Light said. “It seems like there’s a lot of love between our players here, so that’s good.” (Photo: Ketan Altekar-Okazaki)

In its first league win of the season, the Palo Alto High School varsity boys’ soccer team (1-5-2) defeated the Santa Clara High School Bruins (3-4-1), 2-0, on Thursday at Paly in a game filled with dominance by the Vikings.

Viking senior left wing Redmond Haynes said the team improved their unity and made strategic adjustments for their latest game.

“We all just had to lock in,” Haynes said. “The first nine games, we were not there mentally. This game, I saw everybody playing as a unit. We also had some tactical changes up front so we can work together better.”

According to Bruin head coach Dan Sequeira, the Bruins also came into the match unprepared.

“I don’t think we practiced hard enough,” Sequeira said. “We came out flat. Palo Alto was a better team that came out and attacked us, and we just have to do a better job. We have to learn from our mistakes and be prepared.”

Viking senior central defensive midfielder Richard Ogawa said the Vikings put more effort into the game given their lack of wins so far this season.

“We started 30 minutes earlier than we usually do today,” Ogawa said. “We haven’t had any wins yet, so we had to make an adjustment. Today was the day where we decided we were going to change some stuff, and it worked out.”

The game had numerous fouls, with three yellow cards given to the Vikings and six yellow cards for the Bruins. Sequeira was given a red card in the first half after an altercation with the head referee. 

According to Sequeira, he was worried about the safety of his players, which led to him getting the card.

“I got thrown out of the game before the end of the first half because I went up to him and talked to him about player safety, and he was mad at me,” Sequeira said. “I should have stepped back, but I was concerned about player safety since more players were getting grabbed.”

The Vikings started the match with the majority of possession, applying pressure early on to the Bruins defense. Just seven minutes in, Haynes scored from the corner after receiving a short pass from a corner kick, putting the Vikings ahead 1-0.

In the remaining 30 minutes of the half, the Vikings applied significantly more pressure, with three shots on goal compared to one from the Bruins. Some arguments at the end of the first half led to yellow cards to two Bruins players and a red card for Sequeira. The half ended with the Vikings maintaining their 1-0 lead.

According to Viking head coach David Light, his team made sure to focus on staying calm throughout the second half. 

“We wanted to play disciplined, play organized in the back and no unnecessary fouls,” Light said. “Just keep pressuring and keep trying to get another goal.”

At the beginning of the second half, the Bruins dominated at first, managing three shots on goal within the first 10 minutes. One of these shots found its way into the net but was subsequently disallowed due to an offside call. 

However, the forward momentum was halted by the Vikings when junior forward Taishi Liu intercepted a goal kick and passed it to Haynes, who scored another goal, extending the lead to 2-0. 

Sequeira said that due to the increased pressure of being down after the first half, his team pushed harder.

“When we were down 1-0, I think we were a little bit better of a team because I think we … woke up a little,” Sequeira said. “But it was a little bit too late. So, because we started 0-1, and tried to climb that ladder, it became 0-2. We had opportunities, but we couldn’t finish.”

For the remainder of the half, the Vikings maintained the majority of possession, engaging in aggressive plays that led to more shots on goal, although none of them were successful. The match concluded, marking the first win of the season for the Vikings.

According to Sequeira, the Bruins will have to continue to work on their communication throughout their next games.

“We have to communicate on our back line a little bit better,” Sequeira said. “We just can’t stare at the ball. Sometimes, we assume that somebody is in the back line, … and no, they don’t have it. We also got to learn how to finish better. We had opportunities where we just were at the goal, but we just didn’t finish.”

According to Light, the Vikings’ first win has great implications for their future the De Anza league. 

“Today, we finished better so I think our players brought a lot of their hard work,” Light said. “It [winning] is big for not getting relegated. If we can win a few more, we might not get relegated, and it’s possible for us to make CCS too.”

The Vikings are scheduled to play their next league match at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday against the Fremont High School Firebirds (3-3-1) at Fremont High School.

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About the Contributors
Ketan Altekar-Okazaki
Ketan Altekar-Okazaki, Senior Staff Writer
Ketan Altekar-Okazaki (Class of 2024) joined The Voice his junior year and enjoys volunteering in his free time.
Maxwell Zhang
Maxwell Zhang, Senior Staff Writer
Maxwell Zhang (Class of 2024) joined The Voice his sophomore year and wishes to pursue management and STEM in college.

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