Analy earns share of SCL title

The ball falls behind Analy's Agustin Reyes, left, and Sonoma Valley's Victor Robles during Tuesday night's game. Photo by Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

SEBASTOPOL — The scenario was simple going into Tuesday night’s Sonoma Valley-Analy boys soccer game.
Analy had to win to gain a share of the Sonoma County League title. All the Dragons had to do in the last game of the regular season was win or tie and they would be all alone atop the standings.

Thanks to two penalty kicks by senior forward Cameron Wehrfritz, the Tigers won 2-1 and with the victory came a share of the SCL crown.
The first penalty kick by Wehrfritz came two minutes into the final half. His second came with 6:38 remaining and gave Analy a 2-0 lead. Sonoma’s Victor Robles narrowed the gap to 2-1 with 4:20, but the Tigers then played solid defense.

Wehrfritz used similar strategy to beat goalie Maurico De Haro on both penalty kicks.

“I started running toward the goalie looking at the left side of the goal,” Wehrfritz said. “As I got closer, I suddenly changed directions and kicked the ball toward the right goal post.”
De Haro was unable to get a hand on either shot.

“He came over before the game and volunteered to take the penalty shots tonight,” coach Peter Meechan said of Wehrfritz. “He’s always so confident, I went to him when the referee signaled the penalties. He doesn’t play every minute of the game, so we were lucky he was on the field when the penalties were called.”

The first infraction was on Walter Aldana for a trip inside the 18-yard goalie box. The second was on keeper De Haro. He left the crease and attempted to kick a ball going toward the Sonoma net. However, he missed the ball and tripped an Analy attacker.

“It’s unfortunate they got two penalty kicks,” Sonoma coach Pedro Merino said. “However, they were called and Analy converted. I also feel the muddy field conditions hurt us and played in Analy’s favor.
“We play European and Brazilian-type soccer. On offense we stress crossing and high bouncing passes. On a muddy field, the ball doesn’t come up and that kept us from mounting more scoring opportunities.”

Both teams should get home games in the first round of North Coast Section playoffs next Wednesday. The seeds will be announced Sunday.
Sonoma finished the regular season with a 10-2 mark in league and 11-4-1 overall. Analy improves to 9-1-2 and 19-2-3. In league, each win is worth two points and a tie is counts as one. So, both teams wound up with 20 points.

“Coach made it clear to us that we needed to win to share the title,” Wehrfritz said. “We talked about it at practice and he went over it again when we had our meeting just before the game.
“I think it definitely helped us playing at home. We have confidence here and also more fans come out to support us.”

It had been an uphill fight for Analy to pull even with Sonoma in the standings. Both teams were unbeaten when they met the first time in Sonoma. The Dragons won that game, 2-1, and were all alone at the top until Analy pulled even on Tuesday night.