By Ryan Kuhn
Losing in the championship game can leave a bad taste in your mouth, but for Stuart Hall boys soccer, the Knights know 2011 is a brand new season.
After getting shut out in the Bay Counties League West championship by Marin Academy last year, Stuart Hall returned to its home field and started its season off on a high note, defeating College Prep of Oakland 3-0 on Wednesday at Treasure Island.
The Knights (1-0-0) took the lead in the first half when senior Tim Connolly scored on an assist by fellow senior Will Campbell.
Stuart Hall head coach Antonio Villegas knows how important his seniors will be for his team this season, especially Connolly.
“He’s a great worker and a great athlete,” Villegas said. “He’s been our heart and soul since he was a freshman. He has been working in the offseason and we are looking for him to have a big year.”
Along with the seniors, Stuart Hall also added four freshmen to the varsity team that makes this year’s squad the biggest they have had.
Freshman Benjamin Bapoupeleh already made an impact in his first high school game, logging two assists.
“The advantage this year is that we have numbers,” Villegas said. “We have some real talented freshmen we can pick and choose from. The younger guys are pushing the older guys and the older guys are teaching the younger guys and it’s starting to bring a nice commodity and making it a nice little team.”
In the second half, Stuart Hall looked to its seniors again for offense as Campbell scored twice to increase the Knights lead to three before the final whistle blew.
Campbell knows that he will not only have to be a leader by scoring this year, but also a mentor to the new freshmen.
“Each of us needs to step up in a leadership role and rise to the position of being leaders,” Campbell said. “Once we are there, then we will start to dominate on the field more.”