Redwood boys’ varsity soccer gears up for playoffs after triumphant over Marin Catholic Story by taylor charles

As the frost-covered field thawed after the freezing temperatures from Monday night, the Redwood varsity boys’ soccer team suited up to take on Marin Catholic on Feb. 5 for their last game of the regular season. Redwood ultimately triumphed, ending with a score of 2-1 and leading them into the playoffs with a hot hand.

SENIOR COLE HARDISTER fights for possession

Marin Catholic got off to an early lead after junior midfielder Nick Millhorn scored within the first 15 minutes. Although early on Redwood was able to dominate the offensive side of the game, they were still unable to score. Redwood maintained possession of the ball for the majority of the half and got off numerous shots on goal, but none met the back of the net. It was clear that the Giants were going to have to change their tactics during the second half in order to come away with a win.


Junior Erik Zolezzi has started on varsity since freshman year and seen his team’s playstyle change throughout the years. Redwood (9-4-4) is currently in second place in MCALs, and Zolezzi is proud of the way the season has gone so far.

“It has been interesting to see how we would do this year with the loss of our leading scorer, Eamon Rogan, but I’m proud of the way we lived up to the expectations and powered through,” Zolezzi said.

Zolezzi was sidelined for the game because of an illness, but observed the playstyle of the team and the way the team was moving the ball.

SENIOR COLE HARDISTER crosses the ball into the box

Junior Stanley Gaither was trying to lead the charge down the field but couldn’t find any room to work with.

“We came out flat and let them get the lead on us early and we knew we needed to change the momentum of the game,” Gaither said.

JUNIOR KADEN GIBBS works along the sideline

Redwood started off the second half of the match strong, playing with more speed and physicality. Co-captain, senior Justin Neustaetter, observed the team’s mindset changed in the second half.

“During the second half it set in that we were struggling against such a poor team and we should be using this game to improve ourselves as players so we understood that we needed to turn up the intensity,” Neustaetter said.

SENIOR NATHANIEL KUFFNER trucks a Marin Catholic midfielder

Through the second half, the Giants played significantly more physically and with much more power. Redwood was able to achieve multiple crosses and through balls in order to set up Redwood strikers for scoring opportunities; however, were still unable to capitalize on them. It wasn’t until later with 20 minutes left when junior Eduardo Diaz tied up the game with a strike to the right corner.

The game stayed tied as Marin Catholic and Redwood battled for possession. It was not until the very last play of the game when Gaither assisted Neustaetter for the game winning goal.

Despite ultimately winning, Neustaetter was startled by the way his team played, especially right before playoffs.

“It was alarming that we struggled so much with a team who hasn’t won a game yet all season, but at least we came away with the W,” Neustaetter said.

SENIOR JUSTIN NEUSTAETTER battles through bloody nose

Redwood will look to build off of their performance against Marin Catholic in order to triumph in playoffs. Gaither is enthusiastic, but realizes that some changes need to be made mentally and physically before their first playoff game.

“We need to improve our intensity and mindset going into the game. We also need to capitalize on our opportunities and score more goals if we are going to succeed in playoffs,” Gaither said.

JUNIOR ALEXANDER NILSSON attempts a bicycle kick

The Giants will make their playoff push in their first match against Novato on Thursday, Feb. 7 at Redwood.

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