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November 4, 2009 > Warriors win BCL title

Warriors win BCL title

By Giovanni Albanese Jr.
Photos By Mike Heightchew

Fremont Christian High School boys soccer proved their number-one seeding going into the Bay Counties League (BCL) Tournament last week with wins over Chinese Christian High School and Oakland Military Institute to advance to the North Coast Section (NCS) Tournament.

On Tuesday, Oct. 27, the Warriors took on Chinese Christian in the semifinals of the tournament at Alden E. Oliver Sports Park in Hayward. Having gone 6-0-2 throughout the regular season, the top-seeded Warriors got all they could handle from the fourth-seeded Rams (3-4-1 in BCL).

Fremont Christian had beat Chinese Christian twice in the regular season by a combined 4-1 margin, but couldn't put a single shot into the net throughout the game. After regulation, neither the Warriors nor Rams could tally a goal in either sudden-death overtime frame, sending the game into penalty kicks.

PKs showed spectators which offensive unit was more prolific, as Fremont Christian buried four shots - Isaac Liston, Eddy Domingo, Wilson Kim and Michael Mahabali doing the honors - while keeper Joel Thompson stopped two of the five Rams shots.

With the win, it set up a one-vs.-two championship game as second-seeded Oakland Military took care of third seed Contra Costa Christian, 3-2, in their semifinals match on Tuesday.

Despite having a win (3-0 on October 6) and a tie (2-2 on September 17), Warriors Coach Nick Liston had jitters going into its championship game.

"I was concerned going into the finals against Oakland Military because of their speed," said Liston prior to its game on Thursday, Oct. 29, at Alden E. Oliver Sports Park. "The finals are being played on a larger field than we usually play on, and OMI has some real racehorses up front."

Most of those pre-game nerves quickly went away as his squad was able to build a 2-0 first-half lead. Jihoon Lee got the Warriors on the board first in the 19th minute off a pass from Allen Esterly. Thirteen minutes later, Rudy Avilia put Fremont Christian up 2-0, just 32 minutes into the game.

But just seconds into the second half, the two-goal lead was cut in half when OMI put home its first goal.

"When they scored 30 seconds into the second half, we knew we were in for a battle the last forty minutes," said Liston. "Strong play by sophomore midfielder Allen Esterly and freshman Micheal Caranza at fullback helped out greatly."

Christian Brioso sealed the victory for Fremont Christian just 12 minutes later, putting his side up 3-1 off an assist by Michael Mahabali. And behind the strong defensive effort by Esterly and Caranza, as well as good goalkeeping by Thompson, the Warriors advanced to the NCS Tournamnet.

Last year, Fremont Christian was bounced in the first round of the NCS Tournament (7-0 to Lick Wilmerding High School). This year isn't going to be any easier feat for them to reach the second round.

For their BCL victory, Fremont Christian (13-3-2) was awarded the 16 seed, and will travel to Marin to take on top-seeded and defending DIII champion Marin Academy (14-3-1) on Wednesday, Nov. 4, at 2:45 p.m.

"We feel like we have some unfinished business in the NCS. We didn't play up to our potential last year," said Liston. "We need to stay focused; play the game as we have all year; and give a full 80 minutes next week (against Marin Academy)."

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