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Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

Varsity Boys Soccer Suffers Loss Against McNeil 3-1

Mina Stephens
Jorge Pena ’24 scans the field for an open teammate during a throw-in. Throughout the match he was essential for many of Westwoods key plays, and helped lead the Warriors to their late game goal.

On Tuesday, Jan. 30, the varsity men’s soccer team played against the Mavericks at McNeil High School, ultimately losing 3-1. The matchup between the teams was highly anticipated as it was a rivalry game, and the players were excited to see how the match would end.

“It’s going to be a hard game, McNeil is expected to make the playoffs, they’re always a good team, so I think it’ll be a good game,” Rahul Kuthiala ‘25 said. “We watched some film, we went over the things that we did good and bad, we practiced some things, worked on it, and throughout the week we’ve been working on how to beat McNeil.”

Fiercely starting off the game, Jack Cox ‘26 kicked off and passed to his teammates who skillfully maneuvered around the Mavericks. Westwood quickly lost possession, transitioning to defense, with Jorge Pena ‘24 expertly defending the ball from his opponents with intense footwork and ball control. Multiple times throughout the first 10 minutes of the game, Shalin Lakhia ‘24 made a run down the field resulting in positive plays for Westwood. Looking to bounce back from their last game against the Vista Ridge Rangers, the Warriors were hoping to execute plays they worked on throughout the week to change the outcome. However, to the detriment of the Warrior fans, the Warriors allowed the Mavericks to gain a lead on them 1-0.

“We’re going to go a little bit longer, more direct over the top [passes], and then we’re gonna hopefully have a little bit more intensity on our press,” Owen Plug ‘24 said.

Before the end of halftime, Westwood huddled up together to talk strategy on how to even out with the Mavericks. With the Mavericks kicking off, Brian Gaede ‘24 and Daniel Goolsbey ‘24 were on high alert. At this point in the game, Gaede started to become a more prominent player on the field, defending the ball from the Mavericks. Lakhia was able to make even more runs down the field, and goalkeeper Aakash Nagarahalli ‘24 had many saves during the second half, resulting in Warrior fans erupting in cheers.

With 20 minutes left in the game, Gaede scored the first point for the Warriors giving the team a renewed sense of hope that they could make a comeback. Gaede’s goal gave the team more confidence and they were able to go on offense a lot more. Throughout the rest of the game, the two teams switched back and forth for offense. By the end of the game, the Mavericks were able to score twice more, putting the game out of reach of the Warriors, and killing their hopes of a comeback.

“The highlight [of the game] was definitely scoring, trying to make a comeback to even out with McNeil, [and] making it 2-1,” Gaede said.

The varsity boys soccer team will take on the Stony Point Tigers on Friday, Feb. 2, at the Warrior Bowl at 7:30 p.m.

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Mina Stephens
Mina Stephens, Heritage Staff
Class of 2026
I am so excited to work on press this year and to help create the yearbook! I love writing stories and sharing them with people. When i’m not busy at school or band, I love reading and spending time with my friends.

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