Scots tie Knights in season opener


Davinder Josephson

Sophomore midfielder Sanjana Hazari moves in to block a pass from a Hillsdale opponent.

Despite missing countless key players and facing a formidable opponent, the Carlmont girls varsity soccer team’s unwavering defense and effective communication with one another were able to hold the Hillsdale Knights to a hard-fought tie.

These strengths along with a collective mindset allowed the Scots to open their season with an encouraging 0-0 performance on Tuesday, Nov. 23.

“Our connection overall was really good and we just played as a cohesive team,” said Sanjana Hazari, a Carlmont sophomore midfielder.

Not only was the team able to execute the game plan nicely, but they also responded and adapted to changes throughout the match.

“We played some people at different positions, but they did quite well,” said John Wilkinson, Carlmont’s head coach. “We changed to a formation that we had never played in at halftime and the team did a great job of adjusting to it.”

The Scots were also able to compete at a high level despite having a depleted roster.

“We were missing nine of our older varsity players,” Wilkinson said. “They are playing in the Surf Cup tournament, so they can’t play their first high school game until their club season is done.”

Tying them made it clear that we deserve to compete with any team in the area.”

— Sanjana Hazari

When these players are back on the field, the team has high hopes for the rest of the season.

“We want to first win our league championship,” Wilkinson said. “Then we want to win the Central Coast Section as well. We are expecting a very strong team that can compete with any school in the section.”

Hillsdale came into the game returning from a successful season with a 9-3-1 record last year.

“Tying them made it clear that we deserve to compete with any team in the area,” Hazari said.

For the Hillsdale side, this game was the first step in a season filled with lofty expectations.

“Our main focus is to work together, maintain our strength and maintain our fitness,” said Rachel Lauderdale, Hillsdale’s head coach. “We want to be able to go to the open division of the Central Coast Section playoffs this year.”

Sophomore forward Emily Gehrlein-Allen controls the ball before starting an attack. (Davinder Josephson)

Returning from a year of masks, quarantine, and limited sporting events, teams are getting used to playing a normal schedule again.

“It’s finally a real season, unlike the past couple of years,” Wilkinson said. “As the season progresses we are going to try to get everybody seeing from the same perspective again, and we’ll always keep that in mind.”

During the game, there were multiple turnovers and missed chances for both sides to break the 0-0 tie, including both shots on goal and corner kicks.

“Throughout the game, we were able to create opportunities, but with those opportunities, we struggled to actually score and make something out of them,” Wilkinson said.

Effective defense on the Carlmont side helped limit the Hillsdale offense. Forward for Carlmont Emily Gehrlein-Allen, a sophomore, consistently put pressure on the Knights throughout the game, forcing turnovers, while Carlmont’s goalie, sophomore Ava Gaboury, made multiple crucial saves in the second half.

Looking forward to the rest of the season, the Scots are prepared to meet the expectations and goals they have set for themselves.

“The players and coaches all expect a lot,” Wilkinson said. “We have a very high bar and standard that we are trying to achieve here.”