Richmond boys’ soccer takes on Dougherty Valley in first round of NCS playoffs

on February 13, 2013

The Richmond High School boys’ soccer team will open its North Coast Section playoffs tonight when they play host to Dougherty Valley High School at 7:00 p.m.

Richmond, which owns a 15-4-5 record on the season, was rewarded for its strong play this year when the seeding for the Division 1 bracket was announced last Sunday. Although the Oilers lost 2-0 to St. Mary’s High School in the Tri-County Athletic League playoffs championship match last Saturday, the Oilers still received the No. 3 seed overall.

The two teams ahead of the Oilers are the No. 1 seed De La Salle High School and the No. 2 seed Monte Vista High School. The Oilers lost one-goal matches to both teams during the regular season.

Co-head coach Rene Siles said that his team’s higher seed would not necessarily make the road to the NCS finals any easier.

“Seeding has proven to not mean much for us,” Siles said. “It is a nice thing but you still have to win every game.”

Siles also said he is looking forward to the challenge for his players. “We can’t wait,” he said. “It is a young team and a lot of them haven’t been in the playoffs, so we need to prepare them for that. It is a different experience—it is a lot more pressure.”

Tonight’s first-round playoff meeting between the two squads is their second in consecutive years. Last season, Richmond came back from a two-goal deficit to defeat Dougherty Valley 3-2, on a free kick goal in sudden death by then-junior Erik Montes.

The Oilers went on to reach the NCS semifinals, before losing 2-1 to San Ramon Valley High School.

Now, Montes is once again the team’s leading scorer and the senior is looking forward to play in front of the fans in what could be his final match as a Richmond Oiler soccer player.

“We have our crowd,” said Montes, a captain on the team. “I think the people that love us are going to be there supporting us, and be there cheering for us, and we have to take that opportunity to do better on the field.”

If they win over No. 14 seeded Dougherty Valley, a team with a 9-8-2 record on the year, the Oilers will advance to the quarterfinals and play on Saturday. With a loss, their 2012-13 season is over.

“We’re focused and we know what we have to do,” said senior and captain Cesar Cardenas. “It is going to be a really big game. It is always really interesting playing NCS, It doesn’t matter what seeding you are.”

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