Girls Soccer beats Cupertino High School 1-0 on its senior night

Matadors emerge third in league and end the season with a win


Michelle Zheng

Senior and captain Ishita Pesati defends the ball from her opponent.

Meggie Chen and Michelle Zheng

With posters taped around the fence of the bleachers and blinking LED lights, the family and friends of the Varsity Girls Soccer team’s seniors gathered at the football field to celebrate the seniors’ last home game of the season. The seniors — Diya Balakrishnan, Alexa Baxter, Maggie Du, Avni Gandhi, Justine Garcia and Saanvi Mantripragrada — walked down the field with their parents and siblings, and the team’s underclassmen delivered heartfelt speeches.

Senior and captain Ishita Pesati says that the Girls Soccer team was motivated by its senior night and went into the game excited and with a  strong will to win, ultimately allowing the team to win 1-0 against Cupertino High School on Tuesday, Feb. 14, with senior and midfielder Justine Garcia scored a goal in the last nine minutes of the game.

“Scoring the [first] goal, that felt really good,” Garcia said. “We’re winning the game and we’re really happy that we got this done and we’re able to get the goal. I was about to cry just because it felt so full circle and everything. I’m just happy.”

Going into the game with a mindset that it was the “last time [to] put everything out there,” Pesati felt emotional and says the team was able to find its groove after the first half. She attributes the team’s success to the energy of senior night, citing the players’ determination to make this game special. 

“I was so pumped, I really wanted to win and I think the whole team did too,” Pesati said. “We really showed that out on the field. It’s such an emotional day, this whole day has been packed and I felt really appreciated.”

This win caps off what Pesati called “by far the best season” in the past few years.Both Pesati and Garcia  have high hopes that the team will carry on this momentum next year. Garcia especially pointed out that although most of the starting lineup are seniors, she’s certain the current underclassman will step up and become great leaders. 

“I saw the potential this team had and over the years — how that team has changed but also how we’ve adapted to those changes,” Pesati said. “I think in the past few years we haven’t had as much success as we would like, but this season, we really stepped up and this is by far the best season. Everyone’s willing to put the work in.”

Looking back, Garcia mentions that she will miss the team after the season ends, a sentiment that Pesati echoes. Despite the bittersweet ending, Pesati says she had a great time leading the team throughout the season and is satisfied with how far it has come. 

“It just feels like it’s sad ending the season off,” Garcia said. “But I’m really happy to be finishing it with my high school team, and with all my friends. It feels really great.”