Berkeley High School’s (BHS) boys varsity soccer team took on Bishop O’Dowd High School on January 21, to cheers of ‘Go Jackets!’
The game kicked off with O’Dowd on the offense, making a shot at the goal, and Berkeley’s goalkeeper, Patrick Devaney, lunging to make the first save of the game. Over the next 25 minutes, O’Dowd dominated possession with seamless passes between players, putting pressure on Berkeley, who struggled with defense. “We’re particularly young; our center backs are both sophomores, so there were a little bit of nerves at first,” said Andre Hebert, the coach of the team.
As the pressure mounted for BHS, O’Dowd pressed the advantage, making another shot at the goal, only to be blocked by the goalkeeper. Unfazed, O’Dowd struck again on the rebound, this time scoring the first point.
After losing a goal, the BHS team clicked together, appearing more confident. As such, despite the early advantage for O’Dowd, BHS managed to take back possession of the ball, turning things around during the remainder of the first half.
BHS approached the goal, and O’Dowd kicked the ball out of bounds, resulting in a corner kick awarded to BHS, which was taken by Daniel Banks. Banks kicked the ball toward the goal, where it was received by fellow teammate Andreas Baechler, who recalled, “Danny set me up on a dime.” Baechler scored, tying the game at 1-1.
“I give all the credit to Daniel Banks, to be honest,” Baechler said, adding, “Realistically, it was the rivalry and feud between our schools that gave me the edge. I knew it was my time. All the fans chanting ‘daddy’s money’ also got me going.”
In a statement to the Jacket, BHS Athletic Directors Robin Vegt and Ross Parker condemned this chant as classless and inappropriate, suggesting that they may even be forced to forfeit games due to spectator misconduct. “Our teams will need to find more appropriate sources of inspiration,” they wrote.
After half-time, BHS substituted in Jaiyah Fuksman as the goalkeeper, along with three other players. Both teams made several attempts to score, but neither was able to gain an upper hand. Hebert commented that the “goalies made great saves, from both teams I may add.”
The game ended in a tie of 1-1. Defensive player Emmett Tjen reflected, “I think we did a good job of defending and putting pressure up there, but I think we could have done a better job of maintaining possession.” BHS currently stands second in league, with O’Dowd trailing close behind at third. The Yellowjackets will get their next chance against O’Dowd on February 11 on Bishop O’Dowd’s home turf.