Lobos' rally falls short

Elsie Allen's Jorge Alvarez (1) and Jesus Garcia (5) battle Marin Catholic's Kyle Henderson (10) for the ball Wednesday night at Elsie Allen.

Elsie Allen's Jorge Alvarez (1) and Jesus Garcia (5) battle Marin Catholic's Kyle Henderson (10) for the ball Wednesday night at Elsie Allen.

“Well, where are they?’ one of the Marin Catholic boys soccer team assistant coaches wondered, “do they think the game starts at 7:30 or what?”

His curiosity was focused on the Elsie Allen soccer team. The Wildcats from Marin had been warming up for their North Coast Section semifinal matchup for about 30 minutes and it was almost 6:35 p.m. Friday before there was a sighting of the Lobos.

The drum portion of the Lobo band and several supporters formed two lines for the Elsie team to march through a gate, across the track and on to the field they came. You see, this was something special for Elsie. Other than rugby, which is a hybrid team with players from several schools, the Lobos have not been crowned champs in any sport. Not that tonight would give them a title, but a win would certainly put them in position to gain one on Saturday.

So, out they came, a roster of 20, seven of which were seniors.

And the first 40 minutes were not pretty. The Wildcats stayed in the Lobo half of the field almost exclusively and could have applied a severe KO punch several times but they let Elsie escape with just a 2-nil disadvantage. “That was the best half of soccer I have seen all year,” said MC head coach Paul Makovec. “We played this team in a preseason tournament and it was just like the first half. I told our team before the game they (Elsie) were here for a reason … and in the second half we finally saw what they were capable of doing.”

“I think maybe in the first half we just kind of didn’t realize how big this game really was,” said Elsie Allen head coach Sergio Lopez. “Maybe we had too much confidence.”

That certainly changed in the second 40 minutes. Elsie converted a penalty kick to make it 2-1 and then put MC on its heels with several attacks on goal. Then, when Wildcat defender Dom Strazulo received a red card with 6:22 left it appeared that the Lobos had the ticket they needed – a man advantage.

But it didn’t work that way as the Wildcats countered with a late goal of their own to clinch the win. They now stand 23-2-2 as they play for the NCS title on Saturday at home against Santa Rosa. The Lobos end their season with a 13-9-2 record.

“I am very pround of them,” Lopez said of his Lobos. “We started four seniors and we will have a good nucleus coming back next season.”