Boys’ Soccer Wins Tourney

Lindsay Wilson, Lifestyle Editor

After placing 2nd in both the Diablo Foothill Athletic League (DFAL) and North Coast Section (NCS) last season, boys’ soccer hopes to ascend to the top in 2014.

The squad appears to be well on their way, winning the Winter Soccer Classic on December 7 over Bishop O’Dowd.

However, the competition was to without its setbacks for the Cougars. Following the 4th goal in the 2nd game, junior outside defender Preston Kilwein suffered a traumatic back injury.

While up for a header, a player from the opposing team took out Kilwein’s legs, causing him to land on his back. The fall resulted in back pain and a temporary loss of feeling in his left leg. “I couldn’t feel my left leg, so it was pretty scary,” said Kilwein.

An ambulance took Kilwein to the hospital where he received a Compute Tomography (CT) scan. He was diagnosed with a pinched nerve in his spine and a bruised back. Despite his injury, Kilwein played in the tournament’s championship game. According to Kilwein, he pushed through lingering back pain in order “to win.”

The 2nd game of the tournament was played on Wednesday at Foothill High School against San Leandro High. Campolindo won 4-0, scoring all of its goals in the second half. Kilwein scored the 1st of the team’s 4 goals off of a free kick. Senior outside defender Chase Corallo scored the 2nd with a volley off a cross, and junior striker Jeremy Raine the 3rd. Kilwein scored the 4th goal on another free kick.

The team’s 1st game of the tournament, on Monday at California High School against Bishop O’Dowd, resulted in a 1-1 tie. According to senior outside defender Zachary Taylor, Campolindo had possession for most of the game, but was unable to convert chances into goals. Kilwein scored the team’s only goal, a shot from inside the eighteen-yard box. The goal against was due to a defensive error, according to Keeble.

After the 1st 2 games, the team was guaranteed a spot in the championship regardless of the outcome of the 3rd game. Campolindo continued their winning trend, defeating Freedom High 3-0 on Thursday. The team played without their top scorer, Kilwein, due to his back injury. Junior striker Matteo Notini scored the 1st goal, a shot inside the 18 yard line. Junior center midfielder Seth Kofman scored the 2nd goal off of a corner kick. Taylor scored the 3rd on a header.

On Saturday at Castro Valley High School, Campolindo faced Bishop O’Dowd again in the championship game. The team was without 2 starters, junior center defender Ryan Donat and Kofman. Taylor scored the 1st goal off of a cross. Senior Evan Raff scored the game winning goal. Campolindo won the final  2-1. The win was a good sign as Bishop O’Dowd is expected to be one of the top teams in the area this season according to Coach Shane Carney.

Keeble attributes the team’s success to experience, as many of the team’s returning players went to the NCS final last year. He also believes that many team members came to the season more physically and mentally prepared than in prior years. This has given the team a deep bench, allowing for Carney to make frequent substitutions.

“In the 4 tournament games, we scored 10 goals as a team with 7 different players scoring and 8 different players getting assists,” Carney said.

According to Carney, Keeble and senior center defender Will Simmons played “outstanding defense all tournament long and really took control of being senior leaders.” Kilwein had one of the best individual performances in the tournament during the 4-0 win against San Leandro, where he scored twice and assisted.

Taylor was also a top player of the tournament, playing “shutdown defense and adding 2 goals from the left back position.”

“We talk a lot about playing as a team and everyone stepping up when it’s their turn to shine, so it was great to win the opening tournament in a real team-oriented fashion,” said Carney.

The team’s unique system of five defenders, three midfielders, and two forwards (5-3-2) has given Campolindo an advantage over their opponents. 5-3-2 puts emphasis on the outside backs, allowing them to join in the attack and bridge the gap between the defensive and offensive lines, while still keeping enough defenders in the back to protect the goal. According to Keeble, the teams they have faced so far have been unable to adapt to their play.

“Our big focuses going into this year were to improve our overall team defensive efforts, particularly the play of our back line, to improve our possession of the ball, and to win the set piece battles, as that is when we typically got scored on last year,” Carney explained.

“We are really pushing for success in all competitions this year and expect to be competing for DFAL and NCS,” said Carney.

Keeble is optimistic of the team’s chances in league. “Everybody is coming together as a team,” he explained.