Feeling Neutral: Varsity Boys’ Soccer Ties Rouse 0-0 in First Scrimmage of Season

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  • Rahul Kuthiala ’25 passes the ball to a teammate. He recognized the defender on his back and quickly ran for an open pass.

  • Kawan Borba ’23 dribble the ball through two defenders. He was able to clear up space for a pass.

  • Rahul Kuthiala ’25 jumps up to head the ball. He was successful and passed the ball to a teammate.

  • Patrick Cotey ’23 dribbles the ball down the side line with a defender coming at him.

  • Pablo Zavala ’24 passes the ball to a teammate. He was able to pass the able without a defender stealing it.

  • The Warriors try to find open space as they await a throw-in. The throw-in was successful, leading to several set pieces.

  • Rahul Kuthiala ’25 passes the ball back to a teammate to score. He quickly ran to the side to open up space.

  • Patrick Cotey ’23 runs up to defend an opponent. He closed off space, leaving the opponent no choice but to pass the ball.

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On Friday, Dec. 9, the varsity boys’ soccer team competed against Rouse for the first scrimmage of the year. Although the team held possession of the ball most of the time, the score remained neutral, at 0-0.

The game began with a Rouse kickoff, followed by a series of throw-ins leading to a corner kick from Rahul Kuthiala ‘25. Although executed well, the Warriors were met with chaos in the box, resulting in the ball being quickly kicked away. The Warriors continued to pressure Rouse with two shots that ended up slightly over the crossbar. Recognizing Rouse’s plan to crowd their half of the field, the Warriors made several strategic passes along the sides of the field to clear up more space. Pablo Zavala ‘24 passed several balls back to goalkeeper Suhaas Patil ‘23 to ensure Westwood’s possession of the ball and to give the team time to find open spaces. Ricardo Urrutia ‘25 and Patrick Cotey ‘23 made several shots on goal throughout the first half, leaving their opponents desperate to kick the ball out whenever they could. In doing so, they created several corner-kick opportunities for the Warriors, which left Rouse feeling exasperated and unable to string several passes together.

During the second half, Rouse’s defense pushed up and caught the Warriors offsides several times: an irritable play that resulted in crescendoing boos from the crowd. However, Kawan Borba ‘23 and Cotey were able to surpass the defense with small, strategic passes, which led to both teammates attempting to shoot. Although the passing sometimes left Borba in the corner, he used a series of tricks to make space and cross the ball in. The opponents were clearly fumed, as they fouled Borba several times, one being in the box. Although the Warriors didn’t make the penalty kick, there was a sense of desperation added to both teams’ playing, leading to a more physical game with frequent incomplete long passes. Rouse had two close opportunities to score, including one off of a header from goalkeeper Owen Plug ‘24. However, Zavala was able to come back in time and head the ball out. Additionally, Rouse attempted to score off a free kick but was stopped by Plug.

“We definitely did really well,” Kane Seghi ‘23 said. “We dominated the game and I feel like we definitely could have won, but the team feels really good together. I feel like we have chemistry and we work really well together.”

This game was a first for several team members, including Westwood Alum and Head Coach Chris Hellums. With the third-place district win last year and the title lingering with hope for this year, Hellums is enthusiastic about the season that’s to come.

“For me, this is really my dream job, getting to come back to my alma mater and lead the high school program here, so I’m excited to get started,” Hellums said. “Our goal is to win districts. That’s the prime objective. We’ve sat down in team meetings and that’s what our senior captains Alex Kalakanis and Patrick Cotey, and Pablo Zavala, our junior captain, and that’s what those guys wanted to do. From there, if we win districts, we get to play at least one more game, and we want to go as far as we can in playoffs and just to keep this season and keep this team for as long as we possibly can.”

The Warriors will play next Tuesday, Dec. 13, against Del Valle at the Warrior Bowl for their next game. Their first district game is on Friday, Jan. 20, against Round Rock at the Warrior Bowl.