By Sam Clark ’19
The Bellarmine varsity soccer team shattered expectations this season after losing 15 seniors the year prior. The team finished with a record of 20-2-3, the first 20 win season for the team in well over a decade, and ended the season ranked 4th in the nation. They also became Bellarmine soccer’s first ever CCS open division champions as well as the first ever Division I NorCal champions.
A few of the players shared just how they were able to accomplish such great feats this season. Mario Borocio ‘19, CCS and Bay Area Player of the Year, shared about the team’s mentality. “The team played as a team and stayed humble. We didn’t let any wins get to our heads and every single player played for the good of the team and not for any individual accolades.”
Fellow midfielder Gabriel Martinez ‘20 expressed similar sentiments. “The team stayed hungry the entire season and never let losses or ties affect our confidence that we were the very best team in the country.”
This team-first, individual-second mentality allowed the team to soar to new heights and allow different players to pick up the slack throughout the season. Coach Brandi Chastain talked about this idea. “During the season we had a lot of very different players make huge contributions to win us games. Jahan [Seifollahi ’20] came on as a sub and scored the game-winner against 3rd place Sacred Heart Cathedral in the last minute of the game. And there were many other stories indicative of this truth. When we entered the postseason, Blaze [Strangio ‘19] really got his game going and Sam [Clark ‘19] really stepped up and solidified our midfield.”
Although the Bells ended the season on a high note, they faced lots of adversity along the way. The Bells dropped a do or die game in San Francisco to Saint Ignatius that ultimately cost them the WCAL title. Team captain Max Morris ’19 talked about how the team was forced to recover from this devastating loss before playoffs started. “Losing that game at SI was really devastating especially since we had a 1-0 lead for most of the game. However, our team got together and vowed that though we didn’t win WCALs, CCS open division was ours for the taking. Even though we were the fourth seed, we never felt like underdogs. SI, the number one seed, was a team we knew we could beat after tying them 1-1. And Watsonville, the number two seed, was a team we had already beaten 3-2 to start the season.”
The varsity soccer team’s confidence, hard work, and determination ultimately led to them capturing the two biggest titles at stake in their season. The Bells did not concede a single goal in the open division, the highlight being a 3-0 away thrashing of Watsonville, who had previously been ranked top 15 in the nation. Overall, the 2018-2019 season was a smashing success and will place this year’s soccer team in Bellarmine’s history books.