Soccer teams kick off a new season

Derek+OBrien+dribbles+up+field+with+the+ball+for+the+Grizzlies%2C+who+are+off+to+a+3-1-3+start.

Lili Loney

Derek O’Brien dribbles up field with the ball for the Grizzlies, who are off to a 3-1-3 start.

Ylin Zhu, Staff Writer

With the interrupted season last year at the height of the pandemic, members of Cal High’s women’s varsity soccer team are ready to compete and face the challenges of a real season.

One of the main challenges will be adjusting to first year coach Ramiro Rodriguez, who previously coached the freshman and JV teams.This adjustment should be made easier for many of the players who were part of those teams earlier in their high school careers.

The varsity team boasts only five seniors, while the rest of the squad comprises 10 juniors and four sophomores.

“This year we have a really young team,” Ramiro said. “We will be the powerhouse next year.”

Some of the team’s youth showed early on. But after starting off with two losses, the girls quickly stepped up and won 8-0 against West High on Dec. 11 and a 1-1 tie against Dougherty Valley last Thursday. Cal was 1-3-1 through Dec. 20.

“[We] started off a bit rough,” senior captain Naya Pollack said. “[But] it takes time to get to know each other, and to work together”

Last year was also a tough year, the team didn’t really have time to bond and build a team. The team had only five practices and five games last season, losing all but the one against Dougherty Valley. 

“We are very competitive this year,” senior captain Ella Johnson said. “[We’ve] had close games so far,”

One of the other challenges this year will be the loss of Johnson, the team’s starting center back. Johnson tore her ACL and is out for the season. The rest of the team is working hard to make up for her absence and they are looking forward to competing.

“We hope to continue to win and hopefully make NCS,” Pollack said. “I’m looking forward to making memories with the team,” 

                                                             Men’s Soccer

The men’s soccer team is off to a hot start despite losing their most recent game last week.

Cal (3-1-3) won or tied its first six games before falling 1-0 to Acalanes last Friday. This fast start has met the expectations of head coach Jose Mena has for the Grizzlies this season.

“There will be high expectations this year,” Mena said. “We started off really strong and we look forward to challenges.”

Members of the team definitely show that they are competitive and are ready for rivalry games. This includes lone sophomore David Martinez, who made it on the varsity and has been a good addition to the squad.

“I look forward to competing at a high level and showing the schools around us that we are better than they think,” senior captain Macray Madruga said.  

The pandemic didn’t benefit the men’s soccer team at all, so everyone is working hard to make up for it and to make sure the team reaches the NCS finals.

“This is one of our better seasons,”  junior striker Javier Mena said. “I look forward to having a great time and bond with the new team.”