By Mason Archer, Staff Writer
// Despite winning their first two North Coast Section (NCS) playoff games, the men’s soccer team was unable to outlast Albany in the semi-final game on Feb. 26.
After a stressful back and forth during the first ten minutes, neither team managed to put any solid shots on frame.
However, a quick counter attack by Albany at the ten minute mark, led to a free kick down field on the Acalanes 20 yard line. Albany lined up to take the free kick and put a brilliant shot in top left corner of the goal that ricocheted off the crossbar right in front of the goal and Albany knocked the ball through.
Regardless of the score, the Dons were anything but flustered. After several unsuccessful attempts the Dons earned a corner kick with 17 minutes left in the half.
Junior Charlie Peacock hit a beautiful corner kick over the top of the Albany defense for senior Ower Hansen who came flying in on the back post to finish the header in top right corner of the goal tying the game at 1-1. With all the commotion and energy resulting from the goal, players Owen Hansen, Jacob Hill, Thomas Judson, and Charlie Peacock all received yellow cards for celebrating off the field.
“Owen made a heck of a play as he has done time and time again,” senior co-captain Nick Geannacopulos said. ”He was hyped but it died when we got 4 yellow cards for celebrating off the field.”
With just under ten minutes to play, a bouncing ball was played just outside the Acalanes box and struck by an Albany attacker into the top left corner of the goal just out of reach of Acalanes keeper Will Easley.
The half came to an end after several more unsuccessful attempts from both sides keeping the score 2-1 in favor of Albany.
“We were pissed off at half because we were down. Our mindset was to give everything we have because our season was on the line,” Geannacopulos said.
With the conclusion of the first half, the Dons were eager to prove that they are a force to be reckoned with.
Nevertheless, neither team was able to put suitable shots on frame for a large portion of the second half.
“It would have been great to put a couple away in the second half but we never gave up which was important,” Easley said. “I thought we played much better in the second half than the first half we just couldn’t find the back of the net.”
While tensions were running high for the entire second half, time was beginning to run out as the score remained 2-1 with only 20 minutes left to play.
With under ten minutes to play, the Dons mustered their best shot of the half. A cross coming from the right wing was just barley tipped by the keeper and headed onto the goal line by senior Jack Muren only to be headed back out of the goal by an Albany defender.
As the final minutes trickled off the clock, the Dons were unable to break the Albany defense as their few final shot attempts were unsuccessful.
Though the exceptional season for the Dons came up short in the end, the dedication and brotherhood developed among the boys is a true testament to the phenomenal soccer program.
“We discovered that we have a great team bond and that is more important than the result,” Geannacopulos said. “However we view the result as a failure because we know we could have done better.”