Drake Wins the Match, Novato Wins at Heart
By Robin Bagaygay
This past Wednesday at Red Hill Park, a varsity boy’s soccer game between the Novato Hornets and Drake Pirates took place with the Pirates winning 2-0.
“It was a very competitive match,” said referee John Scherwing. “[They’re] two equal sides. Just a couple goals and a couple yellow cards from Drake and that was the difference. Better than that they were equal.”
Late in the first half, Drake forward Peter Carroll scored a goal, causing an uproar of excitement in the audience. Later, forward Ian Sobral scored a second goal late in the second half, finishing off the 2-0 victory.
“Credit to a good Drake team,” said Novato coach Hugo Solorzano. “It’s unfortunate we missed the opportunities, but we played a good game.”
Novato (5-6-2, 3-3-2) displayed their passion throughout the game, despite losing the match. They had a few chances to score, however Drake (11-1-1, 8-1) didn't let that happen.
In the second half, midfielder Kyle Albert took the ball down the field and attempted a shot, but Drake’s goalie, sophomore Adam Martinez blocked it. Defender Leonard Rodas attempted a penalty shot later in the game, but it was unfortunately too high.
Although Drake was in the lead, they also had some chances to score more goals.
Forward and midfielder Jace Bruner chipped from the sidelines, hoping one of his teammates would either head-in or kick the ball into the goal, but it was well-defended by the Hornets. Carroll planned on making a play to net the Pirates a goal, but Novato’s goalie, senior Nestor Jarquin, prevented that from happening by blocking his shot.
“I thought it was a good game overall and I thought they played really hard,” said Drake coach Rene Ayala.
In spite of Novato losing the match, it sparked inspiration for Ayala.
“The score sheet says two to nothing, it was way closer than that,” said Ayala. “I think Novato created so many opportunities offensively that they were unlucky the ball hit the post one time.”
Ayala and his players have great respect for Novato.
“That was a 50-50 game,” said Carroll. “Both teams definitely could have won so props to Novato because they played hard and played more physical than us.”
“Novato plays with so much passion and I thought we could easily have lost that game,” shared Ayala. “I think that playing teams like [Novato] makes us better because it kinda forces us to work harder and to see things we need to improve for our team.”
Interestingly, both coaches have history together. Ayala first met Solorzano as a player, when Ayala was still a coach.
“We go way back,” Ayala said with a laugh. “I was coaching Drake and he went to San Rafael and that’s how I met him as a player.”
The next Novato game is scheduled on January 25 against the Tamalpais Red-Tailed Hawks.