Up the ranks

After a close loss to Fremont HS, MVHS girls soccer coach Jose Vargas pulled out his phone to read a message from the FHS coach.

“The Fremont coach ended up texting our coach and saying ‘You guys were a very good team and you guys have grown a lot over the past few years,’” senior captain Srinidhi Balaraman said.

The MVHS girls soccer team has, in years past, not had much competitive success. They only won one game last season. But this year, the team appears to have turned themselves around. The team finished the season close to the top of the table with a record of 6-3-3. With a winning record for the first time in seven years, they finished third in league, with only Fremont HS and Gunn HS ahead of them.

As senior Mansi Reddy explains, the team wasn’t taken very seriously by the players themselves or the opposition.

“Freshman year, I went into it knowing that [MVHS] soccer was a joke,” Reddy said. “My parents never even showed up.”

This year’s team, with a second year coach and plenty of underclassmen talent, has managed to greatly exceed expectations. In the classic underdog story, the girls team overcame their past reputation to shock many of the traditional powerhouses of the league, including Milpitas HS and FHS.

The start of the team’s season took many opponents by surprise, as they were much better than expected. Teams like FHS that, in the past, were used to beating MVHS by sometimes three or even four goals, found themselves struggling to score even once.

“When we played Lynbrook [HS], we overheard players saying that ‘Oh we have to beat [MVHS], they’re not the good team,’” Balaraman said. “I would say it’s advantageous because people don’t expect you to be as good as you are, so we came in and showed them and we beat them.”

As the season went on and as the team played more opponents, its “joke” status was long gone. According to junior Mythili Ketavarapu, teams began to take them much more seriously and began to respect their skill.

“It makes it harder the second time we play teams because we play every team twice,” Ketavarapu said. “Because then the second time [we play them] they’re like ‘Oh we underestimated them last time, but not a second time.’”

With slim CCS contention in its last two games, the team tied Cupertino HS 0-0 and beat Wilcox HS 4-0 on senior night. However, this was not enough to secure a CCS spot. The team would have needed to pass Gunn HS and reach second place to have a chance to make it. Even with this slight disappointment, however, players like Reddy still view the season positively.

“I think we have proven our playing level as a team,” Reddy said. “We shouldn’t be seen a joke as we have been in the previous years and I hope this year will … give MVHS a new name in terms of girls soccer.”

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