We are the champions: boys soccer wins league


Photo by Shawn Medow

Senior Kevin Pineda (right) runs down the line, dribbling the ball past an Irvine defender.

Boys soccer (7-2-2) finished league in the top spot after drawing Beckman 0-0 in its final game of the season on Feb. 12 at Tustin High Stadium.
This season has been different for the boys varsity soccer team as coach Luis Barahona lead them for the first time. The team showed great potential from the start of the year after winning a majority of its preseason games.
“The whole backline, from Tommaso Covino, Kenton Van Peursem, Brantford Park and Joshua Evers were [all vital],” Barahona said. “Kasra Aghaie came in and did a good job to fill in for [Evers] just to give him a break.”
In the second to last match of the season against Irvine, center midfielder Gio Gaz and striker Kevin Pineda, both seniors, scored one goal each to lead the team to a 2-1 victory. Senior Taaj Darwish had an impressive performance playing alongside Pineda at forward. Towards the end of the game, Irvine came close to completing a comeback, which would have dampened the Warriors’ chance of winning the league title.
“We used to give up a goal in the last few minutes [of matches last season] and tie, but this year with Barahona’s coaching tactics we’ve been able to pull through [and win],” Gaz said.
Last season there were no freshmen on the varsity soccer team, but this season freshmen David Medow, Jeffrey Vu and Rohit Dutta all made the team. Medow and Vu played a substantial amount of time in the center midfield alongside sophomore Nick Gravesen, juniors Ryan Rodriguez and Nicholas Cavanaugh, and senior Dion Rad. Dutta was a backup goalkeeper to senior and captain Austin Anderson.
“All the seniors [have] helped me a lot and they improved me as a person and as a player all together,” Vu said. “I’m thankful to have them around me.”
Although much of the credit must go to the players, coach Barahona has worked hard to lift the team to a league championship this season after the team failed to qualify for CIF last year. Barahona has had a successful first season and has been praised by his players. The team won 4-3 in penalties in the first round of CIF.
“[Barahona] has been more team-oriented and makes sure we stick together even through a loss,” senior, captain and defender Trevor Kennedy said. “Everything we do now is done as a team.”