Rio’s boys soccer did not disappoint this year, going 11-2-2 in the regular season. Standouts like junior center attacking midfielder Manu Rey have boosted the team up a division into the division two playoffs.
Rey scored 22 goals, good for first in the Capital Athletic League. In addition, he finished first in assists, points and points per game (15 game minimum).
The team beat rival El Camino twice in two meetings this season, outscoring them 8-3. In those games, Rey recorded more goals than anyone else who played.
The team easily qualified for the playoffs, and their first round game took place Tuesday night against the Grant Pacers.
The first half got off to a fast start with Rio controlling the game. Most of the half was spent on Grant’s side of the field, and Rio scored twice to show for it.
The first came in the half with Steen Unsworth scoring with 24 minutes left.
Next came a flurry of opportunity for the Rio offense, nearly converting on multiple chances. In one such instance, a shot ricocheted off the top post as it flew past the keeper.
Finally, the Raiders found the net off of a Foster Hopp score. He ran in from the wing and found no defenders to meet him, netting it easily.
They continued the solid play until stoppage time when they gave up a good look to Grant. Keeper Quinn Harington made a diving stop to preserve Rio’s two point lead going into the half.
To open the second half, the Pacers immediately struck with a goal of their own.
Just five minutes later, Rio would strike back with Steven Barreto scoring, putting the Raiders up 3-1. For the second straight half, home team would control the pace of the game, making it tough on Grant.
The Pacers were barely able to fend off Rio’s attacks, however, the Raiders shot themselves in the foot on a miscue in the defense.
As the ball was trickling towards the net, a defender attempted to clear the ball, not getting solid contact and sending it only a few feet away. As he did this, Harrington dove for the ball which was no longer there.
This set up an easy goal for Grant, who took advantage and drew closer with just 15 minutes left before stoppage time.
Rio made the necessary adjustments, substituting an extra defender in shortly after the goal. The final minutes were dominated by the Raiders defense who stopped anything that entered their zone.
In the end, Rio moved on, cruising to a 3-2 victory over Grant.
In addition to the boys, for the third straight year, Rio’s girls soccer team is headed to the playoffs. With a league record of 9-1-2, head coach Jennifer Smiley cannot be more pleased.
They are lead offensively by senior Camille Lidster, who finished second in league in points, fourth in goals and fifth in assists. They were also helped by freshman forward Abby Brewster.
Brewster set the pace for all league freshmen with 22 points, 9 goals and 4 assists. In her first year, she finished only eighth in the league overall in points.
These two teams have lead the way for winter Rio athletics. They look to continue their respective streaks and keep advancing in the playoffs.