For three long years the boys’ varsity soccer team was cursed, losing in the playoffs heartbreaking season after heartbreaking season.
Finally, three section title games, 45 regular-season victories and 10 playoff appearances later, the class of 2013 has a section championship banner to hang in the gym.
In 2009, a first-round upset against Jim Elliot Christian put an end to the Cavs’ title hopes.
“We’ll be back next year” was the off-season battle cry.
One year later, the Cavs found themselves in a position to redeem themselves against Millennium Christian.
After 100 minutes of scoreless play, a penalty kick shootout stood between Country Day and a championship.
Then-senior Angel Anguiano, `11, saw his shot end up in the hands of the Falcons’ keeper, however, and another bitter loss belonged to the Cavs.
“We’ll be back next year.”
It turned out the next year would be no kinder to the boys.
After compiling a regular season record of 12-4-2, the Cavs blew past Venture Academy, 5-0, in the first round of the playoffs.
In the semi-final match, Country Day was pushed to the brink, down 0-2 at halftime. But five second-half goals pushed the Cavs on to a thrilling 5-4 comeback victory, and secured yet another championship game berth.
But it was the same sad story in the championship game, again against Millennium Christian.
This time, Millennium didn’t need extra time to put the Cavs away. A 1-6 loss ended the 2011 campaign.
“We’ll be back next year.”
When the seniors began this year’s season, they did so with the understanding that there would be no next year.
After an impressive 15-2 regular season, the Cavs began the playoffs riding a five-game win streak.
Sierra Ridge put up little resistance as the Cavs breezed by for an 8-1 result.
Facing a tough opponent in Ripon Christian, once again Country Day bore down and pulled out a 4-0 win.
The seniors would get a chance to put on their red-and-white uniforms, pull up their socks over their shin guards and lace up their cleats one last time.
The championship game was eerily similar to the one two years prior. Both were played at Cosumnes Oaks High School, and both started at 10 a.m.
The only difference was that this time Victory Christian was the opponent.
Just like that crushing penalty kick loss in 2010, this year’s Nov. 10 match remained deadlocked at 0-0 for 80 minutes of regular play—and then 20 more of extra time.
Penalty kicks would decide the legacy of the class of 2013.
The first two Victory kicks found the back of the net, and although senior Logan Winfield successfully converted his shot, he was forced to retake it, as the official had not yet blown his whistle.
His second attempt was saved by the diving Victory keeper.
Down 1-2, the Cavs seemed once more destined to fall just short.
But after seniors Jackson Dulla and Donald Hutchinson hit their penalties into the goal, and two Victory shots went wide, Country Day came to life once more.
With the game on the line, the fourth Victory taker sailed his kick high, and at last the curse was broken.
Red-clad players stampeded onto the field, crashing and falling into an ecstatic dogpile.
The seniors picked themselves up off the AstroTurf, packed up their gear and left the field for the last time, finally champions.