With a 9-1-2 league record this season, the Wilcox Chargers varsity boys soccer team secured the school’s first ever league title. The euphoria from winning the El Camino League could have easily prevented some schools from focusing on the task at hand when it comes to the CCS playoffs. Wilcox, however, appeared calm, composed and collected in their opening-round 2-0 victory over Palo Alto on Saturday.
These Chargers know that business certainly isn’t finished. A year ago, the Chargers were also first in the El Camino, but they weren’t officially rewarded with a league championship for the COVID-shortened season. With last year’s success, winning league this year was not the end goal. That success combined with strong performances early this season against teams from higher divisions, the Chargers have had their sights set on a CCS Championship run since early December.
Saturday’s playoff opener was some payback for Wilcox, who dropped a 2-1 preseason decision to the Palo Alto Vikings. The Dec. 7 game was just the second game of the season. As Chargers Head Coach Josh Foley notes, he has some young players this season who are totally different players at this stage of the campaign.
“It was a rematch we wanted since we played them in preseason. We are a different team now than we were then,” remarked Foley. “Our freshmen were just kind of getting their feet wet in that first game and now they are different players. They are playing at a level that is no longer a freshman level.”
One of those freshmen is Jacob Aguirre who picked up an assist in Saturday’s victory. Aguirre made a nice cross into the box where junior striker Anthan Wingate was able to get a head on it and found the back of the net, putting the Chargers up 2-0 in the 60th minute.
“He has this unreal vision,” praised Wingate on Aguirre. “He’s able to find amazing passes with regularity.”
A large portion of the Wilcox offense this season has come from freshmen Aguirre and Sean Odle who work up top with Wingate. The elder most of that trio not only finished off the header for the 2-0 goal, but Wingate also assisted on the opening goal. In the 52nd minute, sophomore Alessandro Castro powered a gorgeous volley shot into the back of the Palo Alto net.
“I’m not the type of person to really celebrate, but it’s a big game, so I like ran to the bench to celebrate,” chuckled Castro. “It felt really good.”
Castro’s goal would become the game-winning goal, thanks in large part to seven saves from junior goalkeeper Jordan Galvez. One of the seven stops came on a breakaway in the first half. Coach Foley referred to it as a “sure goal” before Galvez came off his line to challenge and save the day.
“I’m definitely an aggressive goalie, not afraid to come out for the ball, make a little contact to secure the save,” noted Galvez on his strengths as a keeper. “That first save was a one-on-one attack. I had to be pretty delicate with the situation, but my mindset was ‘I’m going to do whatever I can to stop this ball.’”
A win over Aragon in Wednesday’s semifinal would propel the Chargers into the CCS final against either North Salinas or Alisal.