Jan 19 – Dons Prove Their Worth by Defeating Division 1 San Ramon Valley

Acalanes 3, San Ramon 2
Halftime: Acalanes 2-1. Scoring: Acalanes, M. Helfrich 2:00, M. Helfrich (Lindgren) 31:00, B. Croze (M. Mirner) 79:00.
San Ramon, Jake Wood 39:00, Chris Scatterday 42;00.
League records: Acalanes 7-0-1, San Ramon 4-2-1

Superb game of soccer!  What could be better than two excellent teams giving it their best. Great skills and athletics all over the park, killer goals, near misses, contentious fouls and diving saves, all creating a playoff type atmosphere that excited the crowd from beginning to end. Literally to the end as Acalanes netted the winner in great style in the very last minute of regular time!

The Don’s started quickly as Mark Helfrich scored a beauty after just two minutes. Gathering the ball about 40 yards out he moved quickly with the ball at his feet, evading players along the way before unleashing a powerful shot that kissed both the San Ramon goalie’s fingertips and his goal post on it’s flight into the back of net. Both teams went end to end in their efforts to score but few real chances were created as both teams defended very well. Acalanes grew as the first half progressed and were indeed the better side in the half, leading to another goal of beauty as Graham Lindgren threaded a pass down field to Mark Helfrich’s feet, where again, he took off at great speed only slowing slightly to pick a spot to rifle another powerhouse of a shot into the back of the old onion bag, 2-0 Acalanes. The home crowd went hysterical in support of their Don’s who were deserving of their lead, which, looked like it might hold until half time. Unfortunately, San Ramon scored a goal of their own just a minute before the halftime whistle as their right winger squared a ball into the Don’s goal area for a close range tap in.

Halftime 2-1.

Just 2 minutes into the second half a long range high shot by San Ramon hit the underside of the Don’s crossbar and deflected down into goalie, Eric Rogstad’s hands. While it looked like a save the ref referred to the linesman who confirmed the ball had indeed crossed the line and a goal was given. Now tied after being down 2-0, San Ramon went on to play with great enthusiasm. If the Don’s were the better side in the first half, San Ramon were the better side in the second.  That said, Acalanes held firm and gave away very few chances to score while still creating their own as the match continued from end to end making for a very exciting game. Going into the final minutes it looked like a tie might be a fair result.

However, in the final minute of regular time, Max Mirner picked up the ball 35 yards out, slipped a nice through pass to the feet of Ben Croze at the edge of the goal area, Croze, dropped a shoulder which was enough to move a defender out of his path to goal before sending a killer low shot to the far post beating the goalie and sending the home crowd into ecstasy. With just a few minutes of injury time remaining, San Ramon threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Don’s, the Don’s defended in manly fashion and Eric Rogstad put on a late show of outstanding saves including a full stretch dive to deny San Ramon in the final seconds. Wonderful game to watch and when considering San Ramon are a div 1 school with many more students than Acalanes to choose from, this was a special win for the Don’s who maintain their unbeaten record, now at 16-0-2.

Next up, Acalanes home to Miramonte, Friday Jan 25 at 6:15 PM

Photos: David Lee
Barry Allan Lee * Man on the Beat