By Jeremy Balan
SAN BRUNO — Archbishop Riordan High School’s boys soccer team looked nothing like a team with one of the most inauspicious winless streaks in high school sports against City rival St. Ignatius on Wednesday.
The Crusaders entirely outplayed the defending West Catholic Athletic League champions in the second half, but the script remained the same and Riordan’s winless streak was extended to 115 games with a 3-1 loss to the Wildcats at Skyline College.
Riordan (0-12, 0-6) controlled possession and scoring opportunities in the second half and matched the Wildcats (5-3-4, 2-1-3) on opportunities in the first, but the difference in the game was St. Ignatius’ ability to finish.
The Wildcats scored on their first three shots of the game and got a lift from a duo of seniors that has struggled to make an impression this season.
Senior forward Shane Slosar scored the first two goals of the game in the ninth and 17th minutes, both on deft passes from fellow senior Eli Love. The goals were the first of the season for Slosar, who scored the game-winner against Bellarmine in last year’s WCAL championship game.
“Those guys have had a relationship since freshman year, but we haven’t seen it all year, until today,” said St. Ignatius head coach John Prior. “We’ve been waiting all season for that and it’s great to see [Slosar] break the duck, so to speak, and to see [Love] have two assists. They’re two seniors and good friends, and I’d like to see some more of that.”
Another senior, captain James Smith, scored on a shot from 20 yards out in the 39th minute to give the Wildcats a 3-0 lead at the half, but St. Ignatius struggled to find any offensive rhythm in the final 40 minutes.
“We completely shut down in the second half,” Prior said. “It’s easy, with young guys and a 3-0 lead, to assume the game is over, but the spirit that Riordan showed in the second half proved that if you’re really hungry, you can turn things around.”
The tide began to turn in the 44th minute, when Riordan’s Jacob Arriola scored on an assist from James Cullinane.
With the momentum gained from the goal, Riordan constantly pressed forward into St. Ignatius territory, but could not cut further into the deficit.
“They don’t know that they’re good yet,” said first-year Riordan head coach David Siracusa. “We’ve had a lot of chances that we haven’t finished this year and they also put their heads down when the other team scores, because they think that’s the way it should be.”
Siracusa inherited the winless streak and has yet to break through with a win in his first season, but is confident the improvements his team has made will lead to a victory this year.
“These boys try their hardest and give all they have in every single second,” Siracusa said. “They’re learning and I’m happy to be their coach. It’s coming, I just don’t know who it will be against and when, but it’s going to happen. I’m hoping it will be the first round of the [WCAL] playoffs, so we can shock the world.”