By ALLIE COLOSKY
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Friday’s Kiwanis All-Star soccer games were a chance for small-school athletes to show their worth against powerhouses as well as a way to build rivalries for future games to come.
The South boys team beat the North, 3-0, with Roseland University Prep goalkeeper Derian Saldana recording the shutout at Santa Rosa High School.
“I went up against a group of All-Stars and to be able to keep the shutout, it feels good,” Saldana said.
Montgomery forward Evan Martinez scored in the first half, while Casa Grande midfielder Gravier Pacheco and Roseland Prep defender Alexis Morales scored in the second half.
The South’s win evened the Kiwanis All-Star overall record at one each, setting up future games for a growing rivalry, Saldana said.
“I’m really proud of the South squad,” he said. “We accomplished what we set out to get.”
In one last hurrah for the local senior soccer stars, the competition was a chance to show their talent and represent their high schools one last time.
“I wanted to represent my school,” Saldana said about why he chose to play in Friday’s All-Star game. “Just because I play for a small school doesn’t mean I can’t hang with the big boys.”
In the second game of the doubleheader, it was the North girls team that evened the overall record, beating the South 2-0.
The Analy duo of forward Brooklyn Varnadore and midfielder Allison Boyer both found the back of the net in the first half to lead the North to its first win over the South.
The final show of talent for most of the seniors’ soccer careers is not as aggressive as a league game, but the competitiveness is still present, said Maria Carrillo defender Brianne Parsons.
“It’s the last time we get to be around everyone,” Parsons said. “It’s still competitive but it’s also very enjoyable.”
Parsons was named MVP for the North. She said the all-star lineup creates a different atmosphere for the players but still requires effort.
“It’s not a league title game,” she said. “But it is still a title game and the competition is still there.”
All four of the teams — boys and girls North and South squads — have recorded a win since last year’s inaugural game, and the future of the All-Stars could turn into quite the rivalry for as long as the games are held, Parsons said.
“I want to thank the Kiwanis for putting this on,” Parsons said. “It’s a really great thing and I hope it keeps going.”