Soccer Shows Class in Final Defeat

Mia Calusic, Staff Writer

The Cougars lost to De Anza High School in the NCS soccer title match on February 27 at Campolindo.

While the championship game outcome was disappointing, players like Amir Aliakbari believe the team’s winter season was generally a story of exceeding expectations.

“Our season this year was really unexpected. We were the class that was supposed to be the rebuilding year. The seniors stepped up, juniors stepped up and we had 10 freshman on the team who also stepped up. It was a young team but we worked well together and we had chemistry,” Aliakbari explained.

Head coach Shane Carney knew that making it deep into the playoffs was unlikely, so he kept his athletes focused on shorter term accomplishments. “Inside the program, we knew it’d be tough, but we just focused on taking things game by game and improving every chance we could get. By the end of the season to be in the NCS final was a real honor and can be attributed to great senior leadership and a lot of hard work,” Carney explained.

Once the upstart Cougars landed a spot in the title game, it was hard for Carney to watch his team struggle.  However, the veteran coach was pleased with the way his athletes handled the disappointment.

“I didn’t enjoy most of the final, as I was really hoping the boys would get to experience winning the title. I do take some pride in the fact that the boys showed a lot of class and respect to De Anza after the game. It’s great to win, but being a good person goes a lot further in the long run,” Carney said.