This past week, the Breaker boys’ soccer team finished off their season with two back to back away wins on Monday, February 13th and Tuesday, February 14th.
Going into Monday’s game against the York Falcons, PG had yet to win a game away from home. The home fixture, however, finished 4-0 for the Breakers, so confidence was high for a first away victory. As it turned out, PG would repeat the scoreline, as Jake Haney scored a fantastic brace to lead the Breakers past the Falcons.
The Breakers got off to a slow start but began to find their rhythm in the 16th minute when Eric Santos scored PG’s first goal of the day. After some passing around the top of the box, winger Jackson Schoolmeester laid the ball off to Santos, who took the chance one-touch with the outside of his right foot. The ball took a lucky skip past the disappointed goalkeeper, but the goal was well deserved considering the immense amount of offensive pressure leading up to the chance.
As the first half wore on, it looked as though the energy was beginning to peter out. However, in the 30th minute, senior Zach Goodwin managed to intercept a pass in the midfield before pinging the ball over the top of York’s back line. Striker Jake Haney managed to outpace the two centerbacks in order to calmly finish the chance for the Breakers’ second goal of the game.
Haney would score his second just six minutes later, when Matt Perlstein played a ball over the defence and into space. Haney charged past and once again used his speed to wreak havoc, eventually capitalizing on a defensive miscommunication to round the goalkeeper and finish the shot with his left foot in order to complete his brace.
York managed to slow Pacific Grove’s pace in the second half, testing the Breaker back line and sending several dangerous balls down the flank. However, captain and centerback Myles Kerchner rallied his defense to preserve PG’s clean sheet – their fourth of the season.
PG would manage to find one more goal in the 64th minute, when Caelum Kim-Sanders juked several players near the right corner flag before dumping the ball off to Lucas Melac at the top right-hand corner of the box. Melac sent in a great ball which curved over the heads of everyone and unexpectedly clanged off the far post and into the back of the net for a spectacular goal. Whether on purpose or accidental, Melac’s goal capped off a spectacular performance by the Breakers.
But it was Tuesday’s game against Anzar that sat at the back of every PG player’s mind. The previous meeting between the two teams resulted in a 1-1 draw and a combined five yellow cards, with Anzar scoring in the final minutes of regulation to steal a win from under the Breakers’ noses. The game ended on a nasty and bitter note.
Full of energy, the Breakers rushed out to an incredible start when Jake Haney intercepted an errant back pass to the Anzar goalkeeper and squared the ball across to Jackson Schoolmeester, who turned the ball into the net to score for PG within 44 seconds – the Breakers’ fastest goal of the season.
From there the game quickly deteriorated into a petty and brutal affair, with Anzar committing several horrible studs-up tackles and PG retaliating with equal force. The referee was forced to stop the game on several occasions to calm not only the players, but the coaches and the fans as well.
The Breakers replied to the Hawks’ dirty style of play with a second goal in the 23rd minute, when Shey Gibson delivered an inch perfect corner kick to find Lucas Melac’s head, who smashed the ball home to double PG’s lead. Anzar pushed hard for the rest of the first half, forcing the back line to hold strong. But at the break Anzar had just two yellow cards to show for their efforts as tempers continued to flare and both teams grew increasingly frustrated.
Entering the second half, PG looked to hammer a final nail into Anzar’s coffin, hoping to insure their precarious 2-0 lead. At first it looked as though Anzar might pull a goal pack when the Hawks found the back of the net on a counterattack in the 46th minute – however, the linesman called the goal offsides, sending the Anzar crowd into a fury as PG barely escaped with their two goal lead intact.
PG would turn the momentum back in their favor in the 51st minute, when central midfielder Carlos Michel-Luhrs slipped a ball in behind Anzar’s defense to freshman Robertson Rice, who poked the ball past the charging goalkeeper to give the Breakers a 3-0 lead. The Pacific Grove bench erupted into cheers.
Anzar began pushing all numbers forward in hopes of overloading the Breaker defense and clawing their way back to a result. The Hawks would be rewarded for their constant pressure when in the 60th minute a cross field ball drifted to Anzar’s striker, who skirted around the Breaker back line before finishing past goalkeeper Thomas Pontarolo, who had been exceptional all game.
As Anzar continued to press, the game got dirtier and dirtier. Anzar received several more yellow cards and the referee threatened to call off the game as Anzar’s captain approached the referee screaming after a tackle by Shey Gibson in the midfield, and as the Anzar coaches and crowd continued to heckle the officiating staff. The game nearly erupted into violence when Anzar’s #9 took out PG’s Eric Santos from behind in the 70th minute. The referee decided against showing #9 his second yellow of the game, which would have sent the Hawks down to ten men. The Breakers would not escape without their share of yellow cards either – Eric Santos received a yellow after disrupting an Anzar free kick and Caelum Kim-Sanders received a yellow for a bad tackle in the middle of the second half.
Despite all the Anzar pressure, PG would have several more chances as well, with midfielder Caelum Kim-Sanders acting as the main offensive catalyst. The sophomore orchestrated a series of one-two plays with Jake Haney and Zach Goodwin that resulted in several great scoring opportunities. Shey Gibson and Matt Perlstein would also get in on the action as the Breakers attempted to crash the box to capitalize on Anzar’s tendency to build sloppily out of the back. In the end, however, the Breakers would be unable to find the back of the net for a fourth.
At the same time, PG’s back line of Myles Kerchner, Sergi Rodas-Mendoza, Lucas Melac, and Eric Santos put on a defensive masterclass to shut down Anzar’s all out attack in the final minutes. Central midfielder Nadi Nader also worked diligently as he used his aggression and tackling abilities to shut down Anzar’s major playmakers and serve as the connection between the Breakers’ defensive and offensive play.
The referee called the game at 3-1 on the stroke of eighty minutes, giving the Breakers their fourth straight league win and finalizing the Breakers’ first winning season in over four years. Despite narrowly missing out on the playoffs, PG finished third in their division with a 6-3-1 record and a regular season goal differential of 30 goals scored to 12 goals allowed.
This senior would just like to say it has been an honor to play with you all and this season has been one of the highlights of time in high school. I know you boys will do even better next year! Go Breakers!