Carondelet soccer wins NCS again, loses NorCal heartbreaker

Carondelet soccer wins NCS again, loses NorCal heartbreaker

Carondelet soccer wins NCS again, loses NorCal heartbreaker
For the first time ever, Carondelet has won back-to-back North Coast Section soccer championships, the sixth and seventh in school history as the top-seeded Cougars scored 12 goals and allowed none to sweep to another Section title. (Photo courtesy Carondelet athletics)

CONCORD, CA (Mar. 20, 2023) — Carondelet suffered losses in the championship game of the North Coast Section soccer playoffs three successive times from 2016-2018 but since then coach Amy Apodaca’s Cougars have won three titles in the past four NCS finals, including this year’s brilliant three-game shutout sweep in the Section playoffs.

The top-seeded Cougars beat long-time East Bay Athletic League rivals Monte Vista 3-0 in the semi-finals and second seed San Ramon Valley 4-0 in the finals of this year’s tournament to go back-to-back NCS champs for the first time.

The Cougars have now won seven NCS championships, behind only Monte’s Vista’s nine titles and San Ramon’s eight overall since the girls playoffs began in 1982.

The season did have a final heartbreak as St. Francis of Mountain View broke a scoreless tie late in the championship game of the CIF Northern California tournament to hand the Cougars a 1-0 defeat in the season finale. It was the same score and result to St. Francis that ended Carondelet’s season a year ago.

All three losses this season for the Cougars were by a 1-0 score. They won every game when scoring more than one goal, a team streak dating back to 2019.

Eagles season ends at semis

Clayton Valley Charter boys maintained the top spot in North Coast Section rankings for a good part of the season and the Ugly Eagles were rewarded with the No. 1 seed in the Division I soccer playoffs after going undefeated in the regular season.

However, coach Guillermo Jara’s team fell short in the NCS semi-finals for the second year a row, this time by surrendering a lead when Vintage of Napa overcame a 1-0 halftime deficit to beat the Concord school 2-1.

Six days later, top seed and eventual champions Davis eliminated CVCHS from the NorCal Division I playoffs in the opening round.

Jara’s teams the last two years met the same fate as the 2011 and 2012 Ugly Eagles who lost back-to-back NCS semi-final games, both to eventual champ De La Salle.

6 more playoff participants

Six other local teams were in the playoffs and five of the six won at least one playoff game.

On the boys side, De La Salle defeated San Ramon Valley 2-0 in the Spartans opener but lost by the same score to Danville’s other team, Monte Vista which went on to win the Division I title.

Ygnacio Valley won a pair of games to reach the Division II semifinals before losing to Richmond 3-1. Northgate won one game but then lost to eventual champs Bishop O’Dowd in the D-II quarterfinals.

Mt. Diablo was the fifth local boys team in the tournaments and the Red Devils also won their opener before losing in the Division IV quarterfinals.

College Park also won its first gaem before going out in the girls quarterfinals of Division I.

Northgate was seeded seventh in girls Division II but lost its first-round game.

Jay Bedecarré
Jay Bedecarré
Sports and Schools Editor at The Concord Clayton Pioneer | | Website

Jay Bedecarré is a long-time resident and writer in Concord and Clayton. He began his newspaper writing career while still a senior at Mt. Diablo High School and he has been part of The Pioneer since its inception in 2003. Jay also operates Bay Area Festivals, presenting events around the San Francisco Bay Area including Bay Area KidFest annually in Downtown Concord.