Boys soccer: New team looks forward to promising season

Junior+Anurag+Kelkar+prepares+to+shoot+a+goal+during+a+practice+on+Thursday%2C+Nov.+21.+This+is+Kelkar%E2%80%99s+first+season+on+varsity+after+two+years+playing+on+JV.+Photo+by+Rhonda+Mak.+
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Boys soccer: New team looks forward to promising season

Junior Anurag Kelkar prepares to shoot a goal during a practice on Thursday, Nov. 21. This is Kelkar’s first season on varsity after two years playing on JV. Photo by Rhonda Mak.

Junior Anurag Kelkar prepares to shoot a goal during a practice on Thursday, Nov. 21. This is Kelkar’s first season on varsity after two years playing on JV. Photo by Rhonda Mak.

Junior Anurag Kelkar prepares to shoot a goal during a practice on Thursday, Nov. 21. This is Kelkar’s first season on varsity after two years playing on JV. Photo by Rhonda Mak.

Junior Anurag Kelkar prepares to shoot a goal during a practice on Thursday, Nov. 21. This is Kelkar’s first season on varsity after two years playing on JV. Photo by Rhonda Mak.

Sarah Ramos

Junior Anurag Kelkar prepares to shoot a goal during a practice on Thursday, Nov. 21. This is Kelkar’s first season on varsity after two years playing on JV. Photo by Rhonda Mak.

Junior Anurag Kelkar prepares to shoot a goal during a practice on Thursday, Nov. 21. This is Kelkar’s first season on varsity after two years playing on JV. Photo by Rhonda Mak.

Despite graduated players, team hopes to make CCS after preseason wins.

Boys soccer head coach Pooya Hajjarian watched nervously during this season’s tryouts. The group of hopeful players practicing before him was full of new faces.

In the wake of a huge group of seniors graduating after the 2012-2013 season, Hajjarian must navigate a nearly entirely new varsity team, with only six players returning this season. However, since tryouts, Hajjarian has become much more comfortable with this team after gauging the players’ skills.

“Look out for our strong defense,” Hajjarian said. “The kids are good. There’s a lot of potential.”

Despite this, the team is still not quite at the same level as last season‘s. To address this, for the past two weeks, Hajjarian has set the team on a grueling training regime involving soccer technique and fitness in order to bring the team up to speed with last year’s, which was just one game shy of making CCS.

“Our personal goal is to make CCS,” co-captain junior Brad Ohadi said. “We had a lot of good [football player] role models out there on the field …They finally made CCS and that’s really amazing.”

Senior William Major, a varsity football and soccer player, joined Ohadi as co-captain after football ended its season with a loss to Alvarez High School on Nov. 22. Because Major was still with the football team, he was unable to start practicing with soccer until Nov. 25. As a key defensive player and captain, Major’s presence is integral to the team’s success.

The team’s first preseason game was an away game against Terra Nova High School on Nov. 26. The team won 4-1 with two goals from Ohadi. The boys also defeated Archbishop Riordan High School 2-1 on Dec. 2, with goals from junior Dima Gutnik and senior Josh Sullivan. These preseason wins are a promising start for the Matadors, especially since Hajjarian stresses the importance of starting strong.

“I know the first few games are meaningless as far as CCS,” Hajjarian said. “But they’re an important confidence boost.”

The Matador’s next preseason game is at MVHS on Dec. 5 against Valley Christian High School. Their first regular season game is at MVHS against Cupertino High school on Jan. 8.