Looking up at the championship banners in the Pacific Grove High School gym, one can see a long tradition of athletic dominance. Programs like cross country, basketball, and football enjoy unparalleled success, years without titles becoming the exception instead of the norm.
But looking up at the banner for boys soccer, there lies just a single year printed in black ink, surrounded by a sea of blank space. That year is 2008 – the sole boys soccer title in the high school’s century long history. In the mid-2000s, the Breakers enjoyed moderate success, stringing together a series of winning seasons and title challenges. But recent seasons provide only memories of painful losses and humiliating blowouts. Between 2013 and 2016, PG won just three league games.
This past year, however, the Breaker Soccer program experienced a rejuvenation. Head Coach Nicholas Lackey – who inherited a program racked by problems after a disastrous 2013-2014 season – guided the team to its first winning season since taking over, claiming a 6-3-1 record and second place in the Mission Trail Coastal Division, finishing just behind champions Oakwood.
The season was not without difficulties. The Breakers endured a rough preseason and a humiliating non-league loss to rivals Carmel, while also having to deal with several injuries. But in the end, the Breakers performed when it mattered, scoring thirty league goals and conceding just twelve. The season culminated in a senior night upset over then-league leaders Pacific Collegiate and an exhilarating away win against the Anzar Hawks. Next year the Breakers look to claim a second league title for the program, as both the team’s leading scorer, Jake Haney, and the team’s assist leader, Caelum Kim-Sanders, are set to return as juniors next season.
The Breakers, however, will be losing a large part of their team. Seven seniors – striker Chris Crandell, winger Zach Goodwin, midfielders Eric Santos and Nadi Nader, defenders Lucas Melac and Myles Kerchner, and goalkeeper Thomas Pontarolo – are set to graduate in June.
The team’s six juniors – Jackson Schoolmeester, Matt Perlstein, Nico Mah, Nolan Hook, Pragnesh Kalyundrung and Shey Gibson – will look to pick up the slack next year as the team’s senior members. They will be joined by this past season’s sophomores – Caelum Kim-Sanders, Carlos Michel-Luhrs, and Jake Haney – as well as the five freshmen who just completed their first season on varsity – Bogdan Grots, Parker McAnally, Robertson Rice, Sergi Rodas-Mendoza, and Yonatan Chajmovic.