Week No. 2 for NBL boys soccer starts Tuesday

Maria Carrillo and Piner face off in this 2009 game at Maria Carrillo. (PD photo by Crista Jeremiason).

ByHOWARD SENZELL

FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Week No. 2 of North Bay League boys soccer did not begin as scheduled on Monday because of a communication snafu that left Maria Carrillo and Piner ready to play, but no officials in attendance.

However, there is a full slate on tap Tuesday with all eight teams set to play: Piner travels to Montgomery, Maria Carrillo plays host to Elsie Allen, Ukiah visits Cardinal Newman and Rancho Cotate journeys to Santa Rosa High.

Monday’s game was originally scheduled for Sept. 16, but was postponed because of a conflict with back-to-school night at Piner. It was unclear how the communication breakdown with the officials’ association happened. The game will be reset for late in the season and both coaches believe by that time it will have playoff implications.

The Pumas were expected to be battling for the NBL title this season, while Piner coach Matt Dold thought his squad would be in a rebuilding mode. The Prospectors lost a dozen seniors from last year’s squad. However, after beating Cardinal Newman, 2-1, in the season opener, Dold is reassessing.

“We’re so young I thought we were a year or two away,” Dold said. “But this group has come together right away and we think we’re a pretty good team and will just get better with experience.”

There are six freshmen, eight sophomores, four juniors and four seniors on the Prospectors’ roster. Piner played only one non-conference game, defeating Healdsburg, 2-1.

The Prospectors are led by junior Miguel Galvan, who scored both goals in the win at Newman.

“He’s a stud,” Dold said. “The other day, he had scouts from Chivas USA of the MLS watching him. He’s that good.”

Galvan isn’t thinking about a pro career right now, he’s more focused on Piner making the NCS playoffs.

“We’re young and learning how to play together,” Galvan said. “We need to continue to develop and our league is so tough, those games will have us ready to play our best in the playoffs.”

Carrillo coach Mike Mastin agrees with Galvan on the depth in the NBL

“The league is strong from top to bottom,” Mastin said. “This year, there’s no clear favorite to win it all. There are no weak links.”

The Pumas defeated Ukiah, 3-0, in their league opener and are 4-1-2 overall.

“We played a very strong non-league schedule,” Mastin said. “I knew if we’re going to reach our potential, we had to play tough teams at the beginning of the season.

“This is my fifth year at Carrillo and this group as good as any I’ve coached. They’ve jelled already. We just need to keep working, so we peak at playoff time.”

Jim Moberg, Taylor Shahi and Marco Perez are enjoying excellent seasons, according to Mastin.

“It’s exciting being part of this team,” Moberg said. “The way we’ve being coming together, we have a chance to be really good. The one area where we need to improve is finishing plays on offense. We’re confident we can do that.”
Carrillo has been averaging just under two goals per game while giving up an average of one.

After the first week of NBL play, Carrillo, Piner and Montgomery are the only unbeaten teams. Last week, the Vikings beat Santa Rosa, 1-0, and Rancho Cotate, 2-1.