Tensions run high in thrilling Scots victory against Bears

Senior+Kai+Yoshida+unleashes+a+powerful+kick.

Rintaro Sato

Senior Kai Yoshida unleashes a powerful kick.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see? I see a Scots victory staring at me.

The first league match for the Carlmont varsity boys soccer team did not disappoint, as the Scots fought neck-and-neck with the home team Menlo-Atherton Bears until late-match heroics by Carlmont and a disallowed Menlo-Atherton goal resulted in a 1-0 Carlmont victory.

With this match only being the second played by the Scots in 2022, the team was still shaking off some rust after almost two weeks without a match during Carlmont’s winter break.

According to Scots head coach Jose Caballero, this was an obstacle they look to overcome as the season goes on.

“The other team has a tremendous advantage already because they play close to eight to ten games already. We only play five in the preseason and we get the boys two weeks off, which means we’re not as physical,” said Caballero.

We’ve been inconsistent in many ways, but I think it’s going to improve during the season.”

— Kotaro Kikuchi, sophomore midfielder

The first half of the match ended in a scoreless draw, with both sides not being able to capitalize on key chances due to a combination of good defense and inaccurate passes by both sides.

The Scots had a more conservative playstyle in mind in the first half, with emphasis on passes in the back of the field, and the Bears capitalized, pressing high into the field and keeping the pressure on Carlmont’s defense, which held strong, with goalkeeper Hudson Fox stifling a couple of crucial chances by Menlo-Atherton, earning himself and the Scots defense a clean sheet by the end of the match.

However, when the first half ended, Caballero decided to change the tactics to reverse the momentum.

“In the second half, we wanted to move the ball from the back but then find that long ball sometimes in order to release the pressure,” said Caballero.

“He changed the tactics so that we would force their mistakes,” said team captain midfielder Ryan Yang, a senior. “We go with the high press and put the pressure on the keeper because we put our faith in coach.”

That faith paid off, as Yang himself would be on the receiving end of a long pass, one of Caballero’s keys for the second half, and Yang was able to turn that pass into the match’s only goal in the game’s final minutes, electrifying the Carlmont squad.

The referees added to the intensity with some controversial calls, such as a handball called on the Scots with confusion over whether the ball was live and a disallowed Bears goal due to obstruction leading to both head coaches arguing lividly with the officials, with the latter met with visible anger and frustration in the Menlo-Atherton stands.

However, despite the controversy, players feel nothing but gratitude towards referees for their hard work.

“The refs take time out of their day to come here and ref for us and give us an opportunity to enjoy the game, so I wasn’t really thinking too much about these controversial calls,” said Yang.

With this victory, the Scots improve to 4-1-2 for the season, and 4-2 over the past 6 seasons against the Bears, outscoring them 13-7 in that span.

The Scots will look to continue their successful start to their league schedule on Jan. 14; another away match at San Mateo High.