Boys Soccer: University can’t repeat success against Branson in NCS semis

By Ryan Kuhn

KENTFIELD — Just a month ago, University High School defeated Branson School of Ross in non-league play, but with a spot in the North Coast Section Division II championship game on the line, the Bulls shut down the Red Devils in a 2-0 NCS semifinal win on Wednesday at the College of Marin.

“Branson is very organized and very physical, so we had a hard time winning battles in the air and we just struggled to keep the flow of possession,” said University head coach Deejae Johnson. “I think the kids had a great season and I’m proud of them.”

Branson’s offense never let up from the opening whistle and outshot the Red Devils 10-3 in the first half.

The Bulls (17-4-3) finally broke through in the 25th minute, when sophomore Bryce Ferguson scored on an assist from senior Josh Gray.

With Branson controlling the ball and putting pressure on the University (11-7-4) defense, the Red Devils could not disrupt its game plan.

“Possession allowed them to spread the field and attack the middle,” said University goalkeeper John Schember. “They had a lot of good chances coming from the side that made it tough for our defense.”

University had limited chances in the second half and mostly played in its defensive half, and the Bulls doubled the score with a goal by Gabe Moynihan in the 47th minute.

Trailing by two goals, Johnson tried to change formations to spur the University attack, but the Red Devils could not break through.

“This is a group that hasn’t been to the [semifinals] in four years, so this was an accomplishment for us,” Johnson said. “I was just apologetic to them that the outcome wasn’t a little bit better.”

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