NCS soccer follow: Rivera arrives right on time

By JONATHAN PIERCE
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Saturday’s North Coast Section Division I boys’ soccer championship game was a great defensive battle between Montgomery and Cardinal Newman, with the Vikings pulling off the 1-0 win, Saturday night on Ernie Nevers Field at Santa Rosa High.

The season was filled with great memories and memorable stories as this team came together and turned around what was an average season last year.

Christofer Rivera was one of the main reasons for the Vikings’ turnaround season. The senior was a veteran of adult leagues, but had never played high school soccer before approaching first-year coach Mike Murray at the beginning of the season tryouts.

“He showed up one day, and I didn’t know who this kid was, and he’s there for tryouts,” Murray said. “I’m thinking, ‘How do I get rid of this kid, because I’ve got a pretty full team?’ And he was just unbelievable. I absolutely had to keep him.”

Throughout the year, Rivera was a pivotal part of this Montgomery team, scoring 11 goals and helping with 3 assists.  Rivera was the second-leading scorer on the team and one of the leaders in assists.  Although he is only 5-foot-5, he has compensated with his speed and aggressiveness.

Murray said of him, “He is a spark plug. If a ball is out there, he knows how to get to it, and makes things happen.”

Rivera was key in the championship game, contributing with the lone goal of the game in the 60th minute as the ball flew past the outstretched hands of Newman’s goalie, Keller Lawson.

Rivera’s ball control and quick shot ability were just too much for Newman.  He often found himself in ideal situations to make plays on the ball and to help out his team in any way possible.  Rivera almost scored in the first half as well as he had an open shot that zipped just to the left of the target in the 18th minute.

Based on last night’s play, it’s safe to say that the Vikings must be thrilled that Rivera’s long-awaited debut in high school soccer finally came.