de Leon's Winner Starts Great Day (1/24)
was one of the best days of the year so far for the Valley Christian
Boy's Varsity Soccer team. The day started off with a 2pm game
against WCAL rival Sacred Heart Cathedral.
The Warriors fell 5-1 to the Irish earlier in the season,
but were looking to exact some revenge. Austin Mansker, who missed
the first game while with the National Team, was back in goal for VC.
However, standout sophomore Justin Cordeiro, was still out with a bone
contusion in his foot.
"We really miss Justin in our center. We have lots
of players who can fill in, but he's one of those guys that you don't
really realize how big he is for you until he's not there. We hope
to have him back soon," Coach Fugate said.
With rain seemingly looming, the game started off well
for the Warriors. Alex de Leon fed Trevor Plug for a breakaway
that the SHC goalkeeper made a nice save on.
Moments later, the Warriors would survive a scare when
SHC's star player put his cleats into Mansker's chest while charging for
a ball. The play put Austin on his back, but he was ok.
"That was scary. I haven't seen a challenge like
that in a long time. I don't think the kid did it on purpose, it
was just an unfortunate thing. Thankfully, other than bruises in
the shape of a cleat, Austin is ok." Coach Basanese said following the
The Warriors continued to pressure through the middle and
on the flanks.
In the 32nd minute, Danny Hittler got a nosebleed, a
common occurence for him. Junior defender Will Pitman subbed in
and had an immediate impact.
Jake Joseph fed Will down the line on a free kick. Will saved the
ball from going out of bounds, beat a defender, and whipped in a
perfectly placed cross. Alex de Leon was making a near post run,
and deftly flicked the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper, and into the
net. 1-0 VC.
Video of the
goal can be seen here.
The game would go to halftime with the Warriors leading 1-0.
After a halftime speech refocused the team, the Warriors came out and
secured the game with a solid second half. Several near misses
kept the score 1-0. The Warriors outshot Sacred Heart Cathedral,
who never seemed to get their rhythm, 8-5.
According to coach Basanese, the game represents another important step
"Sacred Heart Cathedral is a great team. They've had some very
nice results this year, and they've had others that they probably
deserved to win. I have great respect for Jeff Wilson's program,
and today was just our day. It was one of those games where we set
the tone, and didn't really give them too many chances. I keep
telling my kids, if we can just be tough to breakdown, Austin will save
any outside shot. We did that today, and we were successful."
The Warriors move to 2-8 in league as they head into Tuesday's clash
with Bellarmine, at home. The last time the Warriors played the
Bells, they took a 1-0 lead before falling 2-1 on a late Bell winner.
The game was played at Santa Clara University, and was one of the best
games of the year to watch.
For Valley, the game was just the beginning.
The team headed home to shower up before re-gathering at 6:30pm at the
school. The team ate some pizza, and then turned out to watch the
Varsity Girl's basketball team defeat Notre Dame Belmont.
The VC boys sat together and cheered the girl's throughout the game.
"That basketball game was so fun!" Austin Mansker said later in the
After the game, the Warriors headed down to Fugate's classroom for some
more pizza, and team building time. The discussions covered
appreciating our parents, character, dating, and affirmations.
The night continued at 11:30 pm back in the gym where the boys ran
around like crazy people having a blast. They played dodgeball,
basketball, and indoor soccer before finally falling asleep around 4am
on the floor of the gym.
Part way through the night, there was a very funny moment that was
somehow captured on film (luck).
You can see
the video here.
The next morning, the team awoke at 7:30, cleaned the gym, and headed to
the locker room. It was here that the boys showered before having
a great breakfast.
Afterwards, the team wrote some letters, read some affirmations, and
then headed off to Venture Christian Church to go to high school group.
At 12 noon, the boys returned to the school good and tired, ending a
tremendously fun day and a half.
"I'm so lucky with these guys. They are so well behaved that I can
actually have fun alongside them. I don't think that there are
many coaches who can say that. I think we grew as a team over the
past two days. The relationships that these guys build on this
team have the potential to be life-long relationships, and that's more
important than any soccer game. I'm blessed to be a part of this,"
Photos from the sleepover can be found
from team sleepover
Game Notes: Will Pitman's assist was the first point of his
VCSoccer.com Man of the Match: Alex
de Leon (Game Winner)
|Sacred Heart Cath.
Scoring Summary: Alex de Leon (Will Pitman)
VC Starting Lineup: Mansker, Joseph, Berding, Gizzi,
Hittler, Tarangioli, Ramirez, Rosa-Diniz, Choi, Plug, de Leon
Game time: 2pm
Weather: Overcast, cool