No penalty kicks were needed in Friday night’s CIF Boys Soccer Open Division Championship game at Mission Bay High School. After staring over the edge in an overtime (PKs) cliffhanger of a victory against Canyon Crest in Tuesday night’s semi-final, Torrey Pines came out blazing, scoring two goals in the first six minutes on its way to a commanding, 4-1, triumph over fourth-seeded Del Norte. The win gave the Falcons their second consecutive Open Division title.
“It feels good,” said an understated Head Coach Andy Hargreaves, whose team took most of the drama out of the contest with its early dominance. “You can have a good team and win but to come back the second time means that the program’s pretty solid.
“Those first five minutes were critical, we felt we could score early and we did. It seemed to have the impact we needed.”
All of the goals came in the first half. Sophomore striker Charlie Kosakoff recorded a three-goal hat trick which included the first two scores of the night. The opening tally came in the fifth minute as Kosakoff’s senior brother, Jake got the ball in from the left side. Charlie Kosakoff corralled it just inside the box, shook his defender and deposited it in the right corner of the net.
Less than a minute later (Charlie) Kosakoff was in the right place at the right time as the ball was poked to him off the goal line and he hit is top left to the back post. At 21:51 in, his corner kick launched the sequence for goal No. 3. After the ball was knocked around inside, it found its way to senior Jose Salgado, about 10 yards out, and he buried it.
Kosakoff and Salgado play club soccer together and the latter says they have the same mentality when it comes to offense. “We’re natural attackers, it’s in our blood, like wolves we’re hungry,” said Salgado, the only Torrey Pines player to score a goal in all three CIF games. “Charlie and I are always hungry to get that goal—like I said, it’s just in our blood.”
A defensive hiccup allowed Del Norte to score at 26:07 and provided a brief glimmer of hope for the Nighthawks but with less than three minutes remaining before the break, Falcon junior Olivar Brandrup intercepted a clearing pass, dished the ball to Kosakoff who delivered a hard shot that ricocheted off a defender and spun its way into the goal.
Torrey Pines kept the pressure on during the final 40 minutes, even after Hargreaves emptied his bench. He was proud of the way his side played and the way it responded to Tuesday night’s wake-up call against Canyon Crest.
“I think when we play our game, we can break teams down pretty quickly and I felt like the way we played tonight, they couldn’t handle that,” said Hargreaves. “It was keeping the ball, getting a good tempo and keeping composure. We knew if we came out strong early, we’d be OK.
“After the semi-final game we had a long talk about re-assessing where we were at and re-focusing. We’ve been stressing for a long time about having the right mentality and the need to go into a game like this with the mentality to play the whole 80 minutes one way. I think we did that.”
Salgado, who missed last year’s championship season while playing for his club’s academy team, was ecstatic about being part of the repeat title effort. “This is an unbelievable experience,” said Salgado smiling broadly after the awards ceremony. “There are no words to express how I feel right now.
“There’s no place like home and Torrey Pines is like home for me. Torrey Pines will forever have a place in my heart.”
Next up for the Falcons is the CIF State Championship which starts Tuesday. It will be icing on the cake for Salgado.
“The State Championship?” he said after being asked about his team’s chances. “I don’t know—I’m nervous, scared, excited….ready to go.”