No Panthers' letdown foreseen in 2010

0262KENTFIELD – OK, the Santa Rosa Panthers lost in the NCS finals. That much we know. But don’t go feeling too sorry for too long for good, old SR High.

Why?

Well, look at some of the returners – superb goalie Brad Taylor, and the midfield combination of Diego Leon and John McFarlin. Before they even pump the soccer balls up for next season you have to make SR the North Bay League favorites, or at least co-favorites along with Elsie Allen.

Toss in defender Will Parente, who scored the lone SR goal in Saturday’s finals 3-1 loss to Marin Catholic and you have a pretty start to 2010.

– Class act all the way for the Panthers. They saluted their fans, and there were many on hand Saturday, after the game. And likewise, kudos to the fans and students. They waited until the bitter end and even formed a tunnel, a la U12 teams, for the team to run through and then took enough pictures to fill the school’s yearbook and then some.

– Only tactic to question employed by SR head coach Jon Schwan on the afternoon, was bringing his team to the stadium so early and just sitting around watching Calistoga battle Branson for almost their entire game. Probably didn’t change a thing other than maybe arousing the butterflies in Panther stomachs a little sooner than needed. Then again, they came out playing hard with no apparent problems from watching a game all that time.

– Don’t know the problems that led to the dismissal of the previous SR principal, but assuming he approved the hires –  Schwan, the first-year SR boys coach, and Nikki Kumasaka, the girls rookie coach – he has left the school with a wonderful soccer legacy.

– Someone commented that Corner Kicks should be more critical of the officiating in this game. That isn’t going to happen. They made some good calls, some bad. And the last thing that will be said here is that they are biased for one team or another for one reason or another. It all balances out. What I didn’t understand on Saturday was their whereabouts at the start of the second half. Both teams were on the field and ready to go, but the refs didn’t show up for a good five minutes while the players stood around. Didn’t put a clock on it, but the guess is that both coaches couldn’t have been that far off on the anticipated start time for the half. Refs deserved a yellow card for that foul-up.