FAIRFIELD — It doesn’t get much better than the best in school history.
That was the case for the Vanden High boys soccer team this fall, finishing the regular season undefeated and 17-1-1 overall to earn the Daily Republic’s Team of the Year.
The Vikings finished the regular season 16-0-1 and won the school’s first-ever boys Solano County Athletic Conference title, then won their Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoff opener 3-0 over Manteca. Vanden’s epic season finally came to an end in the SJS semifinals after a 4-0 loss to Central Valley, the section’s eventual runner-up.
Coach Roy Darbison attributed the team’s success to the talent of the players.
“I really lucked out and got a lot of great players,” Darbison said earlier this year. “I coach club soccer and probably a good third of the team has played for me before.
“We play a certain style where we put so much pressure on the other team that we end up dominating the ball and the play and the possession. They have made it really easy for me. They are great kids and they work hard.”
According to Maxpreps.com, the Vikings scored 59 goals in their 19 goals for an average of 3.1 per contest, and also tallied 35 assists, and recorded 202 shots on goal.
Steward Pimienta topped the Vikings with 22 goals and added six assists. Dominiq Plutino-Laird was next with 11 goals, while Yousef Rezogui had eight. Patrick Dazo led with 11 assists.
Darbison said the attack mode Vanden implemented this season resulted in his team’s success.
“(The pressure) is really key,” the coach said. “That high pressure, it wins the ball for us higher up on the field and we don’t even have to work from the back all the way up. When you get it in the back, it’s a lot more work from back there. . . . And it definitely keeps the pressure off (our) goalie.”
Goalkeeper Antonio Ramirez recorded seven shutouts and had 53 saves.
After some key wins during the regular season, Darbison knew this season had a chance to be special.
“We talked at the beginning of the season after beating some of the teams that we’ve never beat before,” he said. “They never beat Benicia before, they never beat Vacaville before, never beat Armijo. And after those wins, I told the guys I think we have what it takes to have an undefeated season, and all of them agreed.”
Reach Brian Arnold at 427-6969 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/barnolddr.