Coaches Matt Vargo and George Champayne talk to some of the starting players before their game against Cristo Rey on Oct. 15. (Photo by Arikta Trivedi)

Cavs progress to finals after successful showing at semis

The Country Day co-ed varsity soccer team secured its spot in the Oct. 30 San Joaquin Section Finals on Oct. 28, defeating the Delta High School Saints 4-2 in the semi-final match. 

Senior forward Arjin Claire led the team with three goals — two in the first half and one in the second half. Junior forward Felix Wu also contributed to the scoreboard, scoring the first goal of the game.

Claire said the team was unfamiliar with playing on turf.

“The ball running a lot faster on turf than grass, as well as the fact that Delta is a very physical team, created a highly intense and quick-paced match,” he said.

Wu scored the first goal of the game early in the first half.

“Felix Wu had the best game of his life,” Coach Matt Vargo said. “He made some great runs and almost scored again, hitting the post later in the game.”

Ten minutes following Wu’s goal, the Saints scored their first goal, tying the match.

Claire scored the following two goals of the match back to back. 

The first was off a through ball from senior center midfielder Malek Owaidat, creating a chance for Claire to penetrate the Saints’ line of defense and score.

Immediately following his first goal, Claire stole the ball right after the kickoff and scored from inside the box.

The back-to-back goals were a highlight of the game, Wu said.

Claire scored his third goal in the second half with his non-dominant left foot, raising the score to 4-1, providing a “solid cushion” for the Cavs to fall back on, Claire said. 

Senior defender Ethan Monasa assisted Claire in the goal by taking the ball 70 yards down the field and crossing the ball to Claire, who was left open. 

“Off of a slide tackle, I was able to get control of the ball, and I just ran toward the opening in the field, passing multiple opposing defenders on my way,” Monasa said. “I saw Arjin wide open in the middle of the field, and I sent it off to him.”

With 15 minutes remaining in the second half, a Saints striker headed the ball off a cross from a teammate in the Cavs’ box, sending the ball into the left side of the goal past sophomore goalkeeper Derek Taylor, bringing the score to the final 4-2.

Wu said the team’s biggest problem is not always talking on the field.

“There is still a lack of communication on the field, and without good communication, we won’t be able to win those 50/50 balls that coach always emphasizes,”  Wu said.

During the match juniors Adam Akins and RJ Vargo switched positions, positively affecting the game for the Cavs.

“RJ solidified our defense and shut down Delta’s best player, which was huge for the outcome of the game,” Matt Vargo said.

Wu is optimistic about the section finals after the match.

“We have heart, chemistry and skill, which is everything we need to win the championship, so I’m looking forward to beating Cristo Rey and winning the final,” Wu said.

The Cavs play their final game of the season against Cristo Rey at John Adams Academy in Lincoln on Oct. 30, at 4:00 p.m.

Buy tickets here.

— By Dylan Margolis

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