The Tech High Titans girls’ soccer team battled their rivals, the Roseland Prep Knights, to a bitter stalemate in their final game of the season Friday in Rohnert Park.
It was a bittersweet moment as the girl’s gathered together to celebrate their league championship. A large portion of the team is set to graduate at the end of the school year and many of the graduating seniors have been involved with the Titans for the entirety of their high school career. With a 17-0-2 record, they could not have asked for a better season to go out on.
“We’ve been working our butts off. They deserve this,” Titan coach, Melissa Knoll, said with teary eyes. “This team helps me through a lot of stuff—personal stuff. I’ve been with them for four years, so I’ve gotten to know them on a completely different level besides soccer. I’m going to seriously miss the group that’s leaving.”
Right from the get-go, it was pretty clear the teams were evenly matched. Possession passed first to the Titans, and then to the Knights, and then back again to the Titans only to repeat the process.
The Knights eventually managed to get in a good drive. Their forwards launched an offensive that caught their opponents flat footed. Titan midfielders lagging behind. All that stood between the Knights and the lead was the Titan goalie, Danielle Baker, who stood resolute in the face of their charge. Baker slid to tackle Knight forward, Stephanie Guzman, but all that did was leave open Knight forward, Betty Torres, to take on a shot on goal.
But the goal wasn’t to be. The ball bounced off the top metal bar of the post.
A little while later, the Titans managed to get a break. Titan forward, Aveen Dulai, slipped into a gap in the Knight’s backline. The defenders rallied, surrounding Dulai and drawing in close. Just before they pounced, Dulai kicked the ball to the right corner of the goal. The Knight goalie dove with outstretched fingers, but the ball kept right on rolling and Dulai scored the first goal of the match.
The Knights responded in the second half.
It all came about from a penalty kick. Knight forward, Stephanie Guzman, collided with one of the Titan defenders and the defender lifted their cleats a little too high. The refs called a penalty. That placed Guzman in the perfect position for her penalty kick—just outside the goalie-box. She kicked it in and tied up the game.
The goal left a bad taste in the mouth of Titan coach, Melissa Knoll. “They got that penalty kick and I don’t really think that foul was worthy of a penalty kick. Maybe a free kick, but definitely not a penalty kick,” Knoll said. “Sometimes I don’t feel like it’s evenly matched with the refs, but at the same time we shouldn’t allow them to control the game. We need to take charge of our own destiny.”
The Tech High Titans go on now to the playoffs. Their first opponent hasn’t been announced yet, but the match will take place Sat., Nov. 3rd at Rancho Cotate High School.