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Panther Soccer (Sep 16, 2015)

Readers may recall last week’s 1-1 report of the draw against Geyserville when AV had a perfectly legitimate goal taken away as a result of the referees’ incorrect ruling on the taking of a penalty kick. After many phone calls and e-mail exchanges among various league officials, referees, athletic directors and coaches, the goal has been put back on the scoreboard to give the Panthers an official 2-1 win. It was the correct thing to do and the team’s appreciation, and that of our supporters, is forwarded particularly to the referees involved for their concern and acknowledgement of their error, Geyserville coach Gregg Becker for his support on this issue, and AV Athletic Director Robert Pinoli for following up and working with me to ensure this unfortunate situation was concluded in a fair and satisfactory way for all.

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Last Wednesday, September 9, saw the Braves from Tomales return to the Valley for the first time since they were defeated 3-2 in the 2014 the play-offs. In last year’s regular season they had beaten the Panthers here 1-0 so it was expected to be a close game. Unfortunately for the Braves, they have since lost a number of their better players to graduation and were clearly overmatched on this occasion.

Still, the very focused Panthers produced their best performance of the season so far. The effort and attitude were unquestionable and at times the quality of the football was very impressive indeed. The quick and accurate ball movement and communication between players approached the levels that will be needed for success against the better teams, with a resulting 10-0 thrashing of a team that hardly threatened to score, although their effort was clear. Goals came from Chirro Tovar (2), Christian Guerrero (2), David Eligio (2), Christian Guerra (2 - the freshman’s first goals for the high school), Papa Medina, and a spectacular 25-yard shot into the roof of the net by Fernando Ferreyra, his second such goal in a week. All of AV’s available bench players received significant minutes and used them to good effect — a very accomplished team effort even with the limitations of the opposition taken into account.

On Friday afternoon, the team traveled to Potter Valley, about an hour to the east, one of the closer away games geographically if not in the score. It was a very hot day and there was very little shade at the field, but the superior Panthers seemed mostly unaffected, and won very easily. Despite the 9-0 score, the Bearcats goalkeeper played exceptionally well and the home team never stopped working for each other. The Panthers’ performance was not as complete as in the Tomales match but still far too much for their vastly overmatched opponents. Again, all the bench players contributed significant playing time. Goals came from Fernando Ferreyra (2), David Eligio (2), Papa Medina (2), Christian Guerrero, Carlos Hernandez, and Chirro Tovar, although given the lopsided nature of the game perhaps the highlight of the day was enjoyed at the team’s post game dinner when after two hours of being baked in the sunshine I was able to enjoy a very refreshing lemonade drink along with my delicious super carnitas burrito at Super Taco in Ukiah. Hey, it was one of those days.

A far more difficult game was expected when Cloverdale arrived in the Valley for the unofficial ‘Highway 128 Trophy’ match on Monday afternoon. This game kicked off a few hours after the AVA went to press so the report on the match will appear next week.

The next match is today’s (Wednesday, September 16) visit to the always competitive Rincon Valley just outside Santa Rosa, before the team makes an even longer journey to Petaluma for a Monday night game (September 21) at Technology High School. That match will be followed two days later, on Wednesday, September 23, with another trip to Santa Rosa, for the first of a number of season-defining matches, this one against five-time defending regular-season champions, Roseland Prep. Meanwhile, as always your support at the matches is much appreciated. We play exciting football and, as I’ve often said, vociferous home crowd support is probably worth a goal a game! Hope to see you there. Come on you Panthers!

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