Boys Soccer: NCS Finals Preview

All season has led up to this.

Division I – at Dublin High, 7:30

No. 2 Newark Memorial (23-3-0) v. No. 8 De La Salle (17-6-3)

This is a rematch of a great semifinal game in 2009 when Newark took what was a nearly unstoppable De La Salle team to overtime. Now Newark is the higher seed, and the team that is on the roll with 23 wins in their last 24 matches.
The Cougars are rolling, and their confidence is very high because of it.
“Right now, our boys are confident and playing hard,” Newark coach Rick Villa said. “I tell them if they come out and play tough, the results will come, and I think our record shows this.”
But that doesn’t mean that Newark is taking De La Salle lightly. In fact, it’s quite the opposite as they know that a team seeking a third straight North Coast Section title will not go down easily.
“Playing DLS is going to be a tremendous challenge,” Villa said. “They are solid from back to front. We are excited to be in this position to test ourselves against the two-time defending champs.”
During their back-to-back title runs, the Spartans have always had one thing in common. Execution, hard work, discipline and most of all, resiliency. This team, which was not expected or predicted to be in this postion, embodies that more than any other team before it.
“I cannot say enough about these boys and their resiliency this year,” De La Salle coach Brian Voltattorni said. “I have been apart of the DLS program since 1997 (as player and coach) and without a doubt this group of boys have been through more adversity both on and off the field than any other team that I have been apart.”
Every team goes through injuries, but this year’s De La Salle squad has had more than anybody could imagine.
Just like everyone, they have been playing with pulled hamstrings and sprained ankles, but beyond that, all three of their captains have been sidelines for extended periods of time, and the team has suffered four broken bones.
Two of them have been suffered by the same player, top scorer Sullivan Tobin. After coming back from a broken nose suffered in a collision with San Ramon Valley’s Dallas Jaye, Tobin broke his collarbone, putting him out for the year. Oh ya, and Michael Bernardi is wearing a cast on his broken wrist.
Voltattorni said it was more injuries than he could ever imagine, yet De La Salle has persevered. Despite starting league play with two losses, and despite facing three EBAL teams in the playoffs, they have marched to the finals.
“They say a true test of a man is how they deal with adversity,” Voltattorni said. “Well I can say that I am more than happy with the young men of this team. They have already proven themselves to me and their teammates for overcoming so much this year. I couldn’t be more pleased as a coach.”

Analysis: Newark has been dominant and has outscored their opponents 13-1 in the playoffs, while De La Salle has battled through by edging out their opponents. However, is their anybody out there doubting the Spartans at this point? This should be a very entertaining match with the organization of the De La Salle defense as well as their execution on set pieces against the fast-paced, high-powered Newark offense.

Division II – at Los Lomas High, 5:00

No. 1 Campolindo (19-1-6) v. No. 2 Acalanes (18-2-6)

When the Campolindo Cougars suffered their first, and only, loss of the season at the hands of the Dons, many people figured these two teams would meet again in the NCS finals. And after splitting their first two matches, and now entering with similar records, it will truly be a rubber match that decides the better team.
For Campolindo to be that team, it will take getting past an Acalanes defense that has not allowed a goal in the playoffs, and has allowed just 11 of them all year.
“The Acalanes defense is extremely compact and organized, and they are the most physical team we’ve seen all season,” Campolindo coach Shane Carney said. “Once you get through their defense, you still have to get the ball past Jackson Foote, which is no easy task. The way to beat their defense is going to be with patience and composure in the offensive build-up. They want us to force and rush our offense under their high pressure and turn the ball over for counterattacks. If we want to beat them, we have to play our game, be patient, and take advantage of the moments when their defense gives us even the slightest opening.”
And those openings don’t come about very often against the Dons, and if anything starts to open up, the staff is quick to make adjustments that usually work.
We have key components of defense in our program. If the boys continue to execute on those they will obtain the result they have worked for,” Acalanes coach Paul Curtis said. “Tactics is a part of all higher level matches, I’m confident that both teams will have a tactical strategy they are hoping to execute well.”
Carney understands that tactics are part of the game, but doesn’t expect either team to make major changes to a system that is working well.
“I don’t think there will be too many tactical changes either way,” Carney said. “I think both Paul and I are confident in our styles and think we can win with what we’ve been putting on the field all season. There will obviously be small changes here and there, but I don’t expect to see any major changes.”
What you can expect is for Acalanes to play lock down defense for much of the night, and strike at opportune times while Campolindo will look to push the action a bit more, but also will be play air tight in the back.

Analysis: These two teams will look very similar to fans who haven’t seen them yet. They both play hard, and play the game the right way. Aggressively, but without being dirty. Campo plays a bit more fast paced and open on offense, while Acalanes style will be a little more defensive, but they are pretty similar nonetheless. They are also very familiar with one another, so a tweak or change here and there could be the difference.

Matt Smith

  • The Sweeper

    0-0 girls in Dublin, 30 left.

  • Matt Smith

    Campo PK. 2-2. Acalanes is down to 10 men.

  • The Sweeper

    Girls go to OT in Dublin. Golden goal OT.

  • Tack

    Matt where you sitting? This Campo side is crazy!

  • Matt Smith

    In the press box man! What a game.

  • Matt Smith

    Campo scores with three minutes left. 3-2.

  • The Sweeper

    DLS girls win on golden goal. Congrats.

  • Closeup

    Wow!! What drama!

  • DFAL1

    Campo wins NCS 3-2. Turning point when Campo, off a corner kick, heads the ball on goal and an Acalanes player intentionally keeps the ball out of the net with his hand. The ensuing red card and converted PK tied the score 2-2. The final 30 minutes of the game saw Campo take complete advantage of play with wave after wave of offensive chances.
    Finally, with 3 minutes to go Campo headed a goal on a corner kick and soon thereafter the celebration began.
    Campo has now won 2 of the last 4 NCS championships and likely soilidified Shane Carney as Coach of the year.

  • Any update on the D1 Finals?

  • Prep Fan

    Re: post #57 – DLS girls??

  • SoccerScout

    Meaning carondelet. They practically are the girl version school of DLS. Any updates on D1 final matt?

  • Waterboy

    Where is are live eye in the Dublin sky?

  • hssfan

    DLS scores on set play. DLS 1-0

  • Prep Fan

    I figured he meant that, but I’ve just never heard them referred to as the DLS girls. Is the Sisterhood as strong and passionate as the Brotherhood?

  • ElPata

    Word from twitter is DLS up 1-0. Not confirmed tho.

  • Matt Smith

    1-0 DLS at half.

  • The Sweeper

    1-0 DLS at half is confirmed. Or should I say Carondelet boys?

  • Matt Smith

    Still 1-0. About 25 left.

  • Fwd Thinking

    Go BOYS! Any update?

  • Fwd Thinking

    Any snow flurries?

  • Svilen

    Just got back from a great entertaining game – Campolindo – Acalanes. For 3 years at Lamorinda and then at JV Campo I have had the privilege to coach 11 of the boys almost perfectly split 6:5 between both teams, so even though I was rooting for Campo, I wanted each one of them to perform well. It was a special game for me!
    Without much caution, Campo took the game to Acalanes and in the 4th minute a free kick from the left by Jason Kimura was met by Timmy Coleman with a header – 1:0;
    Campo was flowing but it was Acalanes who scored – a floating ball to the far post was headed towards the 6 yard box where a Acalanes player was alone in front of the goalkeeper. The ref did not flag an offside and there were no protests on the field so either the header was by a Campo player, or somebody was keeping the forward on side.
    From this moment Acalanes took control and had a pretty good possession, pushing the action into Campo’s half. The Cougars relied on long balls behind the defense and has 2 near misses, but Acalanes was the aggressor and it paid when they scored from a corner kick in the 25th minute. Inexplicable whole opened in the center of the defense where a forward had time to cushion the ball to the ground and shot high into the net from point blank.
    Second half started with a Campo push and a series of free kicks by Jason Kimura. One of them was a missile towards the top right corner, which Foote acrobatically saved by managing to palm towards the crossbar and out. The resulting corner met Harlan Raine header and the ball was goalbound, but Cameron Carda on the line instinctively pulled a Luis Suarez – a regrettable, but forced red card followed and Jason Kimura equalized from the penalty spot.
    What followed was a complete Campo dominance for 30 min. But as if the script required the utmost drama, the winning goal came only 3 minutes before the end – another header from a corner kick, again by Harlan Raine.

  • Matt Smith

    Still 1-0 about two minutes plus stoppage left.

  • Matt Smith

    2-0 DLS. Almost final.

  • ebal fan

    Newark very overrated. Congrats to DLS. Newark had no threats at all. DLS too much.

    POY-If its anyone from DLS it should be someone from their back line, they are excellent back there.

  • Waterboy

    Coach of the Year

    We went to De La Salle early in the season to scout Monte Vista, DLS looked terrible, looked like it was going to be a down year, with goalie problems and much more. After hearing about the injuries, red card before the playoffs, seeing them gut it out,and take the title, I know where my coach of the year vote would be.

  • Fwd Thinking

    Way to play, boys! Way to coach, coaches!

  • Soccerfan

    Congrats to DLS and campo!!

  • The Striker

    I have to be honest this game was not a great game at all..the intensity level wasn’t there at all..it was really sloppy most of the time..most of the pre-season and league games were far better but congrats to DLS.

  • Dls hater

    Dls sucks

  • lonewolf

    Newark was a class act at the end of the game with DLS players. Newark a bit over rated but earned their spot in Championship. Hat’s off to players and coaches at Newark. DLS played a well coached game…Defense was tight. POY Anthony DeCosta..as a capt, as a senior and who scored the 1st goal of the game. Coaches of the Year..the DLS staff did a top notch job on keeping the team focused for each game of NCS.

  • shinguard

    Never fear Underdog is here. Or is it ” Never Fear the Spartans are Here.” What a season. To fight and improve through the last part of the season and to pull-of a 3rd NCS championship. Newark was out played but were true sportsman till the end.

  • Duuude

    I have to say that i didnt expect Newarks offense to play like this. Very disappointing. But congratulations to DLS.

  • SoccerGuy

    Congratulations, De La Salle. They certainly overcame a tremendous amount of adversity- they deserve this victory. Facing challenge after challenge throughout a year can either tear a team apart or pull it together. This title run says a lot about their coaches and their senior leadership.

  • Soccerfan

    For the people who went to the campo game… How bout them fans!!! The campo side was on fire! So much energy and I think that did help the boys pull off a great win!!

  • mudhen

    The Campo, Acalanes game was great! Did anybody notice the really fabulous series in the second half, where a Campo boy was fouled right in front of the Campo stands,then played the ball while lying down only to have a virtually identical move by Acalanes occur immediatly after? The referee( Yader Reyes,a USSF national), wisely allowed play to continue and the fans were treated to very exciting soccer.
    Most refs would have blown the whistle for WHATEVER in that case.

  • donssoccer

    Just wanted to say congrats to campo for a great game -you guys were the better team last night. Even tho we didn’t win, I thought our team played our hearts out – we had some plays, some mistakes and in the end we just couldn’t make it happen. It’s always fun playing the guys from campo – I’ve played with some of them since LYMA kindergarten soccer – which seems so long ago.

    Parents (dad are you listening?) – just let it go … I have … club starts up again with tournaments and state cup at the end of this month … so there’s no use dwelling …

    The Dons will definitely come back next year even stronger and hopefully will go all the way, especially for Coach Curtis, who’s been a great coach all season.


  • storm

    Spartan supporters
    We often hear from you regarding our complaints of an even playing field in football. If your school could show us the quality of coaching and brotherhood under the conditions the DLS soccer team over came, we would fade into the sunset. This is what some of us have been lobbying for from the NCS office and DLS proved they can win with equal athletes in soccer unfortunately their deep talented football program is around the corner. Congratulations to all the student athletes on the DLS soccer team and all the EBAL athletes of high school soccer. We all knew NM would just be another team to face on our EBAL schedule. This years NCS soccer brackets say it loud and clear for all to see and hear.

  • Bench Warmer

    Congratulations to DLS!! Coaching staff pushed all the right buttons and the players played hard every minute of every game!

    Final thoughts:
    The final proved what everyone was stating about the NCS committee. They are lazy and/or thoughtless. Case and point. DLS played Granada, Cal and Livermore to get to the final (are you kidding me??!!) They earned it!! (congrats again!) The Newark game was their easiest game!! (Come on!) I agree with what some have said that the Championship game was the Cal game or even the Livermore game (although Livermore never scored). DLS’s toughest game was Cal and they were on the ropes and pulled it off. Newark’s bracket and League not as challenging and it showed in the final. The EBAL’s 4th place team beats the other leagues first place team. Great run for DLS.

    All the rumors about recruiting mean nothing. So what. if you want to win NCS Div 1 you have to earn it and you must go through the EBAL and DLS.

    EBAL is still the dominate league and DLS is their King right now. Div 1 Final was a dissappointment this year. Nice job NCS committee!…..(not!!!!!) The other problem is I bet none of them are reading this blog because they do not give a rip. That is the biggest problem!!

    Matt, great job!!! Thank you!!!

  • EBRef

    Hats off to DLS players and coaching staff. What a year for the Spartans. Congradulations to the CHS Cougers what a game they played vs SRV.

    NM keep your heads high and learn from this game, you can only get better.

    Fun season all around and thanks fellow bloggers.


  • LHS Alum

    Hey Benchwarmer, don’t forget Granada High had DeLaSalle down 1-0 and 2-1 with about 10 minutes to play. DLS ties it up and wins it on a golden goal in overtime. Destiny baby. Congratulations to DLS. The highly vaunted offense of Newark looked totally ordinary against the superb defense of DLS. Newark took about 3 or 4 shots from 25 yards out that the DLS goalie gobbled up without spilling the beans for a rebound. The finals MVP should be the entire defense of DLS. They never gave Newark a chance to get any chances from closer than 20-25 yards. The 2 goals DLS scored, the first off of a picture perfect service into the box by Johnny (Spartan) Marcinkowski that paid immediate dividends, rattles around and then buried. The second, a fast counter attack with a spectacular finish into the side netting from about 15 yards out, with less than 5 minutes to play sealed the 3 peat for the Spartans. I’m sorry DLS nation I don’t know all of the boys names but each player was outstanding. The best team clearly won this game. Newark was frustrated from the get go.

  • THEanonymous

    Please don’t make Cal look so bad Bench Warmer. They, in my opinion, deserved the title as much as DLS at least, but got very unfortunate in the end. I’ve also heard rumors that time had ran off the clock at many times it was not supposed to (injuries). For all we know, that could have biased the outcome.

    As far as the NCS committee is concerned, they face a lot of adversity that it doesn’t seem to me like you know enough about to make the “lazy and/or thoughtless” call. Plus you have no evidence for “the rumors about recruiting mean nothing.” Maybe you’ll learn a little from the basketball blogs.

    DLS is a very well-bonded team indeed, but I personally believe the championship game deserved to be Cal vs Livermore. Then again, I believe you were right that Newark was their easiest opponent and that DLS made a great run, and what LHS Alum said about “Newark being frustrated from the get go.” However, I hope the truths will foreshadow what’s going to happen in 2012.

  • Bench Warmer

    THEanonymous, not sure how you saw I made Cal look bad?? That was a great game that Cal should have won but went home unfortunately?? The recruiting is a mute point if it happens at all. it is what it is whether it happens or not. Clearly, you need to read what i said over again. And yes the NCS committee are lazy and thoughtless as many other bloggers have agreed. But the beauty is it is our opinion and the tragedy is that it does little to nothing to improve the situation.

    Yes, the Granada game was great also! Thanks for helping my point!

  • NICEone

    DLS certainly plays hard out from the first whistle to the last,that is certainly what got them to the final.Still think the NCS final could have been much more interesting with either DLS,facing Livermore or Cal or. Cal vs Livermore.Livermore certainly had a strong team this year for how young they are and should have a great season next year.Congrats to DLS well deserved.

    Matt have you posted the EBAL All league?

  • Matt Smith

    Gonna post it on the most recent thread in just a little bit. Just got it today.