By Aliye Wingate, Staff Writer
// Whenever a team from Acalanes plays Campolindo High School, there will always be some sort of anticipation; after all, we are rivals. As part of the girls Varsity soccer team, we were hungry to play them again on Monday, Jan. 28 at home.
We first played Campolindo in December. That game was a fight from the start. They were a tough opponent, and the reigning NCS champions were confident they would crush us. In the second half, we clearly scored a goal off of a deflection from the Campolindo goalie, but a sideline referee called the goal offsides, and we ended up tying, 0-0. We believed we’d been robbed of a victory, and were ready to come out as hard as we possibly could to take what was rightfully ours: a win against Campolindo.
As most teams do, we began with warm-ups: stretching, drills, and talking; except this time, I couldn’t concentrate. I kept thinking of my position on the field as a center, and the task at hand: to stop a goal from being scored. Like all centers, it is my job to regain possession of the ball in the case of a mistake. With Campolindo, there was little room for error.
As warm-ups finished, we linked arms and huddled together as one. Somehow, we knew this game would be important; you could just feel the adrenaline rushing through everyone’s veins. As one player said, “They are going to come out thinking that they have already won, that they just beat Miramonte and Clayton Valley High School, and that they’re on a high, so we have to show them that we are better.”
It was revenge time.
As soon as the whistle blew, I looked to center-back Sami Hansen and full-back Dylan Hagglund for comfort. Almost instantaneously, my nerves disappeared.
We dominated Campolindo in the first half. Every player, from our goalie to our center forward, played as well as they could. We seemed to work as one cohesive unit, determined to reach Campolindo’s goal on the other side of the field. On the bench, players cheered with equal zest and spirit.
We made multiple shots on goal, and our midfielders did a great job making tackles and distributing the ball to our forwards. On the defensive side, our players kept the Campolindo forwards out with ease. Yet somehow, both teams remained scoreless at the half.
We felt we’d missed an opportunity; with poor calls from the referee and multiple attempts, we should have scored at least three goals. Heading into the second half, we felt determined to finish what we had started; a fatal mistake on our part. Rather than meet the energy felt in the first half, we launched into the second half with overconfidence.
Now don’t get me wrong—the second half wasn’t disappointing—but our level of play did not match that of the first half. Campolindo began to make small threats against the goal. Approximately midway through the second half, a free kick was given to them on the twenty-five-yard line.
One of their midfielders shot the ball to the upper left side of the goal, but goalkeeper Kate Carter stopped the ball before it could reach the goal. As her deflection sat on the field, a Campolindo player tapped the ball into the net.
We were shocked, and could not comprehend what had happened. Instead of dwelling on the goal, however, I picked up the ball and sprinted to the half circle, just waiting for the whistle to blow again and resume the game.
We could have stopped the goal, but we didn’t. Had we just taken advantage of moments earlier in the game, we wouldn’t have found ourselves in such a tight position. It felt like a slap to the face; we had 12 minutes to change our fate.
The rest feels like a blur, but one moment remains clear: one of our left forwards passing the ball to teammate Sasha Sadoff, right down the line.
It seemed to play out in slow motion. After taking a few dribbles, Sadoff cut inside the field. Just as suddenly, she stood, lone against the Campolindo goalie.
Then she scored.
The crowd went crazy. There are no real words to describe moments like that; to express all the emotions I was feeling at that time is impossible. Elated, relieved, grateful.
I was so happy for those few minutes of celebration with my teammates that I forgot everything else around me. The referee blew the final whistle, and we shook hands with the girls from Campolindo. Of course, I felt upset over the game. The score didn’t do justice; we’d played too well to tie, 1-1. Acalanes should have walked away with three points, not one.
Despite the disappointing outcome, though, a quote from Barbarino stood out: “What you guys showed here tonight, scoring with twelve minutes to go… Now that is a championship team.”