Boys Soccer: Lowell escapes with 1-0 win over Mission in AAA semifinals

Lowell goalkeeper Eduardo Camacho leaps up for a save against Mission on Wednesday at Boxer Stadium. (Photo by Devin Chen)

By Bonta Hill

Mission High School almost came up with the right recipe to defeat undefeated Lowell in the Academic Athletic Association semifinals, but they missed the one ingredient that would have cooked up the biggest upset of the season — a goal.

Lowell survived a frantic final five minutes of the contest, holding off Mission in a 1-0 win on Wednesday at Boxer Stadium to advance to Saturday’s AAA championship game against Lincoln.

The Cardinals (19-0) clinched their 37th consecutive AAA victory behind a goal from senior midfielder Max Pollard in the 53rd minute. Pollard headed in a corner kick from Avery Fisher.

Lowell senior midfielder Max Pollard celebrates after the Cardinals' only goal against Mission on Wednesday at Boxer Stadium. (Photo by Devin Chen)

“The goal helped settle us down and a lot of times corners are contested, so for me to be able to get up there, it was like I better put this one in,” Pollard said.

Lowell’s streak was almost snapped though, as Mission (14-7-3) controlled most of the action throughout, even outshooting the Cardinals 13-5.

But the Bears couldn’t find the net after several near-misses, including five shots in the final five minutes that nearly sent the match into overtime.

Junior forward Marco Caballero’s shot in the 79th minute just went wide right of the net, while Lowell goaltender Eduardo Camacho made two saves in the final moments to help the Cardinals prevail.

Despite the loss, Mission head coach Scott Kennedy held nothing back after the game.

“I really thought we were the better team and I really thought we were going to beat them,”
Kennedy said. “We’ve had so many games like today all season, but when you’re the best program everybody circles you on the calendar. I’m not disappointed with the way we fought today and we can hold our [heads] up with pride. I bet you Lowell is getting out of here happy as hell today . . . Lincoln and Lowell both know they just dodged a bullet. I feel like we’re the best team, simple as that.”

Although Lowell was on its heels for most of the game, the Cardinals’ surge in the first 15 minutes of the second half was the difference.

Moments before he scored, Pollard had another golden scoring opportunity when he sent a shot from 10 yards out off the crossbar.

“[Mission] is an amazing opponent, and they are relentless,” said Lowell head coach Marcos Estebez. “This was the toughest game of the season, but I’m happy to keep the streak [going].”

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  1. Lowell House says:

    I understand that coach Kennedy believes in his team, but they didnt have the final end product so it doesn’t matter. Also Lowell had to play without their forward and another midfield starter, but they still came out on top. Idk how many players they’re going to graduate though, bucause next year Lowell is losing like 7 starters.

  2. UK says:

    How can Mission be “the best team” if they have lost to both Lowell (twice) and Lincoln this year?

  3. Mission says:

    next year Mission high school will to be championship

  4. Nate says:

    I wish I could have seen this game. Sounds like it was a firecracker.

    By the way, if any program was being “circled” this year, it was Lowell. They’ve only been undefeated for two years. Mission might be a natural rival for many schools due to its historic success, but beating Lowell would have been sweeter.

    My prediction for the final: Lowell 4 – Lincoln 1. I suppose I’m rooting for Lincoln just because they are the underdog, but their defense is a bit suspect, and Lowell seems to have a knack for winning games even if they are outplayed. Best of luck to both teams!

  5. Lowell says:

    I don’t know how the coach think Lowell and Lincoln dodged a bullet when both of the teams beat them this year…………….and if Mission was a better team, simply they could of own!!

  6. Mission says:

    i don’t think Lowell is good team. they lucky at play off with Mission !!!

  7. Mission says:

    Mission is the better team. Perhaps in the beginning of the season, they didn’t have a well prepared team, but after weeks of their practice and switching around some players, they proved that they were the better team. Yeah Lincoln did beat them 2-0 & Lowell too 3-1. But look at the scores afterward. Mission beat Lincoln 3-2 when they were down 2-0(those 2 lincoln goals were offsides by the way) and Lowell barely beat Mission 1-0. The first half of the playoff game, Mission just dominated. Lowell honestly got very lucky that last game because the Mission players shut them down and they know it. All of that aside, I think Mission is the better team due to their discipline, their pride, and their hard work that doesn’t compare to any other team. Other than that, good luck Lowell & good luck Lincoln. Just wait till next year though…

    • Lowell says:

      Yeah you guys better be happy next year cause Lowell is graduation almost all their starters…… perhaps that’s the only way you can beat Lowell!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    mission was the better team everyone knows that we dominated the whole game but is ok will get them next year i hope lowell wins so we can beat them next year and next time they are not going to get lucky so enjoy your undefeated streak lowell because next year mission is going to take it away

  9. Lincoln says:

    its simple when Lincoln plays all of there players lowell is the only team in the city who can beat them mission is small and soft. Lincoln would crush mission with all there players on the field Championship prediction lowell 1 lincoln 2 in OT

  10. Lowell says:

    If Mission was a better team they could of simply won? Am I right?………….If they had the SKILL they would of made the goals but unfortunately they don’t have the skill……STOP HATING!! Get out of here if your gonna hate, we won the game so go cry somewhere else!! LOSERS!!

  11. Lowell Fan says:

    Here’s the deal. It’s true, Mission outplayed Lowell in terms of the sport of soccer. They controlled the midfield, they were tight on D, and they created chances up top. But their finishing was horrible. If Mission had finished chances they would have scored two or three goals. Also, I think it speaks to the adaptability of Lowell that they were able to recognize what wasn’t working and try to work around it. Mission had good defenders, but their team in general is pretty short. So because they weren’t scoring on the ground, they went in the air, and there’s wasnt much Mission could do about it. (it also factored into Mission not capitalizing on any of their five corners in the last five minutes). So I think we can sum it up like this: Mission played a great game. Lowell played a bad game. But the mark of a good team is one who can play poorly and still come out on top. That’s Lowell. I predict that Lowell will win it all this year but next year, it’s all Mission.

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