As the old British saying goes “Keep Calm and Carry On.” Those are words the Clovis boys soccer team live by.
Clovis High learned a lesson in keeping composure Friday night when De La Salle (Concord) came to town – and brought its physical brand of soccer with them.
The Cougars would not be deterred; instead, the team kept calm and carried on, just like how head coach Danny Amparano coaches them.
“[The team] was taught to keep their composure,” Amparano said. “We don’t buy into playing revenge. We just want to play soccer.”
On a cool Friday night at Lamonica Stadium, Clovis showed a great display of speed and passing, but fell short to the visiting De La Salle Spartans in a close 1-0 match.
Clovis came out of the gates flying, pushing upfield on the attack and looking to score early against the powerhouse Spartans.
Yet it was De La Salle who got on the scoreboard first. Senior Dominick Giusto scored off a deflection on a free kick in the 8th minute.
Clovis would have more scoring chances in the first half as they kept getting past the Spartans’ midfielders.
De La Salle responded with physicality, pushing the Cougars off the ball and keeping them goalless in the first half – but racking up two yellow cards in the process.
The Cougars continued to move the ball very well in the second half, but De La Salle’s defense would not break.
The closest chance for Clovis to tie the game came in the 61st minute when the Cougars had back-to-back corner kicks, but failed to convert either.
A big moment for Clovis came in the 75th minute when De La Salle had a penalty kick to potentially seal the game. Instead, Clovis goalkeeper Vinny Sabbatini saved the shot and gave the Cougars hope.
Sabbatini was honest about his strategy for saving penalty kicks.
“Really on PK’s, it’s all about luck. You just got [sic] to guess,” Sabbatini said. “I really just wanted to give my team the best opportunity to win.”
Clovis could not take advantage of Sabbatini’s “lucky” save, as they ultimately fell to the Spartans.
Nonetheless, Amparano was impressed with the Cougars’ game plan and execution Friday.
“As the second half went on, we took control of the game and [De La Salle] started to get tired,” Amprano said. “I thought our game plan worked, but it was just unfortunate that their only goal was off a deflection.”
Yet if there was any team better equipped to handle such a tough loss, it would be these calm Cougars.
Clovis High (2-2) will play next at home, against El Diamante on Tuesday.