The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Boys soccer shuts out Santa Clara on senior night

Senior Nikhil Morales battles for the ball as he attacks down the field.

Last Thursday, February 8, the Los Altos High School varsity boys soccer team beat the Santa Clara High School Bruins 5–0 in a dominant senior night victory. After falling 1–5 to the Bruins last month, the Eagles flipped the script, jumping ahead of Santa Clara in the De Anza League standings and clinching a playoff spot for the second year in a row.

“We stuck together and didn’t let our heads go down,” senior Nikhil Morales said. “In the past, our mentality was a little poor, but today we really stepped up and kept pushing. We knew how important this game was.”

With mostly seniors on the field, Los Altos started out strong, turning up the pressure on Santa Clara. Within 15 minutes, the Eagles found the back of the Bruins’ net — but as the shot was an offside, it didn’t count. However, Los Altos kept up on offense, and just minutes later Nikhil successfully scored to bring Los Altos 1–0.

“The difference of senior night is the atmosphere,” junior Kapil Jakatdar said. “You want to do it for the team. You know it’s the last time you play with the seniors at your home field, and you just want to show up for them.”

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For the rest of the half, Santa Clara was on its back foot. A save by the Bruins’ goalie narrowly blocked a Los Altos goal, but Nikhil fired back with his second goal of the night, putting Los Altos 2 points up leading into halftime.

“The team decided to put it all together,” Head Coach Roberto Magellan said. “As a coach, I felt that I was at ease with them. They really paid attention to the instructions that I passed. Nobody can stop a group — a team — that is on the same page.”

Although the Bruins came out of halftime on the attack, the Eagles continued to hold on defense. Just 8 minutes in, sophomore James Taylor, who had just been moved up from JV, scored his first varsity goal. Kapil added another goal late in the game to put the Eagles firmly ahead 5–0.

“The adrenaline rush was high,” James said. “I could hear the crowd. It felt good. Contributing is always good, but it’s especially great when it’s for the seniors. They were happy, and I saw them celebrating, and that was great.”

Despite the strong win, the game was also a bittersweet end for the seniors. It was their last league game played at home and marks the end of a chapter of their lives.

“It’s our last game and the last time we’ll play on our home field,” Nikhil said. “And we know that we’ll take a big step next year, and be out of our comfort zones. We won’t be around the people who love and care for us. This game really meant a lot in terms of playing for those who support us.”

“Finally having everything click tonight — it’s so satisfying,” senior Eric Neschleba said. “It makes you feel so proud of how far you’ve come and the journey you’ve taken to get here. I’ve been able to meet a lot of great players. They’ve helped me grow both as a player and as a person.”

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Matthew Diederich
Matthew Diederich, Senior Writer
Milan Grbovic
Milan Grbovic, Staff Writer

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