By Josh Levine
University High School got the only goal of the game from senior Adrian Kerester in the 61st minute and survived a flurry of late shots from Marin Academy to hold onto a 1-0 win in the Bay Counties League West championship game on Friday at Kezar Stadium.
Marin Academy, the defending league champions, only took four shots on goal compared to 12 by University. The Wildcats lost the first two regular season meetings between the two teams 4-0 and 3-0.
“All I can say is that I’m super proud of the girls and it was a fantastic effort,” said Marin Academy head coach Joshua Kalkstein. “They showed some true courage and bravery today. Our goalkeeper [Sammy Barish] was especially brave and even took a cleat to the face.”
The gusting wind was a definite factor, and Marin Academy won the coin toss and elected to play into the wind in the first half, strategically setting themselves up to have the wind going with them in the second half.
“Marin was definitely organized, and they moved very well as a team. In the second half we had to make some changes,” said University head coach Deejae Johnson. “We were more patient and didn’t rush the ball as much from our midfielders to our forwards. Our passes were side to side and it opened up more space.”
Right before the goal scored by Kerester, University midfielder Katie Buoymaster took a free kick from outside of the penalty area on the left hand side. She sent the ball toward he right post, but it did not bend enough and went out of play.
Less than a minute later, Kerester got a crossing pass from Buoymaster and put the ball in the same corner that Buoymaster had just missed.
“That goal really pumped me up,” Kerester said. “We had a rough first half and I didn’t start as well as I would have liked to. Our coach told us at halftime you have 40 minutes left. The only thing that can beat us is ourselves. We managed to keep it together. He really inspired us.”
The win guarantees University place in the North Coast Section playoffs, while Marin Academy will have to home to enter as an at-large. At 20-2-1, the Red Devils could get the top seed in the NCS tournament.
“I honestly haven’t even thought about it,” Johnson said. “The draw is on Sunday and we are hoping for a good seed. There are a bunch of good teams, but no outright favorite. It should be very interesting.”