Even though the San-Joaquin section finals championship game was on a Saturday, teachers and students drove to Elk Grove to cheer on the boys’ soccer team in their matchup against rival Sacramento Waldorf Waves.
The Cavs wanted revenge after losing to the Waves 5-4 in an overly aggressive game on Sept. 18.
“It was a very physical game,” senior Jacob Durante said. “We were disappointed losing to them, and on top of that they were unsportsmanlike. We wanted a rematch.”
The only time the Cavs could meet the Waves again was in the section finals. And they did exactly that on Nov. 14.
“They were the only team we wanted to face (in the final),” Durante said.
At around the same time last year, the Cavs were in the same position, playing for the section title, but fell short in a 4-1 loss to Ripon Christian.
This time however, after 80 minutes, the Cavs were crowned section champions in a decisive 3-0 victory against the Waves, after finishing the season, 13-5-1.
After losing seniors, such as goal leaders Ethan Ham and Erik Morfin-Ruiz, the Cavs, including captain Brad Petchauer, did not expect to make it to the championship.
“I expected this to be a building year for us,” senior goalie Petchauer said.
“To come out and win the section title with a significantly underclassman team is a huge surprise.”
Although the Cavs may have had a weaker lineup this year, they improved on working as a team as the season progressed.
“We became much better at communicating,” junior Emil Erickson said.
“Our team chemistry improved a lot throughout the season. We started passing as a team, and our field awareness got much better.”
The Cavs attributed their season-long success also to strong defense.
“Towards the end of the season, we had a lot of shutouts (five) and held our opponents to low-scoring games,” sophomore Jayce McCain said.
Sophomore Theo Kaufman’s favorite game was the championship, where he scored the first goal.
“We worked together to get there,” Kaufman said. “We deserved to win, and the crowd and everyone getting pumped up made it a really cool win.”
Junior Aidan Cunningham’s favorite games were the Cavs’ three playoff victories, in which they scored 13 goals and allowed only two.
“They are the biggest games of the season, and we won them all by a large margin,” Cunningham said. “We started working as one unit. We were just meshing as a team.”
Due to soccer being moved to winter, leading scorer B.J. Askew (24 goals) and starting center midfielder McCain (seven goals) will not be playing next season.
But coach Matt Vargo says he isn’t worried.
“Someone will step up and fill the void,” Vargo said.