By Jacob Polacheck

Entering the 2016-2017 season, nobody could have imagined that the Lions soccer team would have made it this far. After entering playoffs with a sub-.500 record, the team caught fire at the right time, making a run towards a CIF championship. While that run came to an end with a 3-0 loss against the #1 seed, Crawford, during the CIF Semifinals, this season was clearly more than anybody could have hoped for.

“It was my favorite season of my high school career,” said Captain Alex Cohen (‘17).

mens soccer
The boys celebrate after one of their legendary goals. Photo: Jacob Sclar (’17)

“Being captain has taught me to be a better leader and helping the younger kids become better players is one of my favorite things to do,” Cohen continued. Cohen was essential in bringing together a team largely composed of underclassmen and preparing them for the pressures that come with playoffs. “It was disappointing not being able to play in the semifinals, knowing we had a chance to make it all the way and win,” said Ilan Levy (‘18). But still, he admitted, “It was the best experience I’ve had as a high school athlete so far, playing with the best seniors yet these past 2 years.”

One of the most memorable moments of the season occurred on February 24th, when goalkeeper Jacob Sclar (‘17) made a stunning save in a shootout against the #5 seed, Brawley, sending them into the semifinal round. “The memories I made this past season will be everlasting,” said Sclar.

Although next year the soccer team will lose beloved players and captains Alex Cohen (‘17), Roberto Goldstein (‘17) and Jacob Sclar (‘17), don’t expect a dropoff. “We will be just as good next year,” said Levy (‘18). As upcoming captain, Ilan says, “I’m hoping to be seen as a leader and to be respected as someone [the team] can talk to as a friend.”

There is no doubt that the 2016-2017 SDJA soccer season was a raving success with many memorable moments. With a stunning playoff run and great team chemistry, the Lions are poised for even more success next year.

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