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Richmond players huddle around coach

Oilers still looking for first win after loss to Amador Valley

on December 3, 2012

Two matches into the 2012-13 boy’s soccer season, the Richmond High School soccer team is struggling to find its identity.

The Oilers, who suffered a 3-0 loss at the hands of the Amador Valley High School Dons Saturday, are still searching for their first win. But coaches said the loss didn’t matter as much as the team’s lackluster play.

“We were playing very soft and with no sense of urgency,” said Oiler co-head coach Jasko Begovic. “Out of 80 minutes, we played like Richmond High maybe 8-10 minutes.”

On a stormy day in the Bay Area, the weather for the first half was somewhat pleasant. Dark gray clouds hovered over the teams at San Ramon Valley High School in Danville, and a cool breeze whistled throughout the field. But before the match, and partway through the half, the sun broke through the clouds and provided a warm respite.

The Oilers lacked intensity from the start of the match. The Dons registered the majority of the scoring opportunities in the first half, and the Oilers’ first real scoring chance came 28 minutes into the half.

The Dons finally capitalized on a scoring attempt five minutes before halftime. Richmond had been outplayed for the majority of the 40 minutes, and the team was lucky to be trailing by only one goal at halftime.

A turning point in the match came approximately 15 minutes into the second half. The Oilers had their best chance of the day when midfielder Erik Montes received a pass from a teammate, broke free from his defender, and made a quick juke to the left to evade the Don’s goalkeeper, who had ventured 25 yards from his goal. Montes’ attempt, however, was saved by a sliding play by an Amador Valley defender, just keeping the ball out of his goal.

Then came the rain. The impending clouds finally opened up and a downpour ensued. Just after rain began to slow, the Dons scored their second goal of the match, with 22 minutes left in the half.

A little over 10 minutes later, Amador Valley scored its third and final goal. When the Oilers did step up their intensity level, at the end of the match, it was too late.

After the loss on Saturday, the Oilers are now 0-1-1 on the year –Richmond tied College Park on Wednesday evening. Last season, the Oilers finished with a 22-5 record and reached the North Coast Section semifinals.

After the match, the Oiler coaches and players met for close to 25 minutes.

Co-head coaches Begovic and Rene Siles dominated the conversation, with some Oiler players weighing in. After the meeting, Begovic summarized some of his biggest concerns with his team’s play.

“There’s a lot of guys coming from different clubs, and guys from last year that are still thinking that things are going to come their way because of last year,” Begovic said. “A lot of teams, because of last year, are coming after us and we are kind of in cruise control, floating around, thinking things are going to come to us with no hard work.”

Oiler players echoed the thoughts from their coaches.

“We didn’t represent at all. These past two games we haven’t showed anything,” said Jorge Alvarez, a senior and one of the team captains. “Last year we had a really good team. This year I feel like we have a really good team but everybody has got to be together.”

“I think the team has to come together,” said Montes, a senior and another of the team’s captains. “Because through my years we have been a family, not just a team.”

Despite the slow start to the season, Begovic was positive that the Oilers’ struggles would serve as a wake-up call.

“I think it is great, because now it humbles them a little bit.” Begovic said. “It gives us, the coaches, an upper-hand to fix things and to make them believe it is not going to come their way.”

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