The Highlanders’ season came to an end at a familiar place on February 25, falling 5-0 to Cardinal Newman-Santa Rosa.
It’s the second consecutive season Piedmont lost to the Cardinals at Edward R. Monahan Stadium in the North Coast Section Division 4 semifinals.
“They’re exceptional,” Piedmont coach Dan Chubbock said of the Tigers. “It was a fun season. We’re pleased that we managed to get to the semifinal.”
Cardinal Newman, the defending champion and No. 1 seed, will host Marin Academy in the championship game on a date and at a time to be determined.
The Cardinals could not have jumped out to a quicker start. They got their first shot on goal just 20 seconds into the game.
Said Chubbock, “From the kickoff, (assistant coach) Marcus (Watson) and I looked at each other, and we just went, ‘Oh, God. This is going to be tough.’”
In the seventh minute, Izzy Wright scored off of a pass from Calla Liu. Wright, a skilled sophomore, would score two more goals in the next eight minutes for her first high school hat trick.
“We just talked abount coming out strong and playing together,” Wright said. “Honestly, I didn’t know that we’d be this good. I’m really proud of how hard we’ve all been working to get here.”
Wright scored the first three goals of the game, two on passes from Liu. Marije Rechin scored in the 26th minute to make it 4-0. Liu scored the final goal early in the second half.
The Cardinals generated 16 shots in the game compared to four for the Highlanders.
Piedmont highlights included freshman goalie Morgan Hunt’s six saves. Amanda Becker got the Highlanders’ first shot off in the 20th minute, missing wide right. Ceci Brien, who has spent much of the season injured, tried to play but had to come out in the middle of the first half.
The closest Piedmont came to a goal came was in the 66th minute, when the Highlanders got consecutive shots off. Fiona Hunter tried to take advantage with Cardinal goalkeeper Paige Foster out of the net, but a defender was able to block the shot. Becker headed the rebound toward the net, but Foster was able to recover and make the save.
Piedmont finishes the season at 6-8-4. Although the Highlanders never got on a real run during the regular season, they were able to pick up two wins in the NCS playoffs despite entering as a No. 12 seed. They defeated #5 seed Urban-San Francisco 2-1, and then #4 seed Lick-Wilmerding-San Francisco 1-0.
“We may not have had our strongest season results-wise,” Chubbock said. “But this was great. The seniors did phenomenally well. The level of opponents was a little bit different (in the playoffs). We were playing schools that were our size a bit more. The league (West Alameda County Conference) prepares us for those games. Playing against Berkeley, Castro Valley, O’Dowd, those games prepare us for these games.”
Piedmont graduates nine seniors, but will also have a significant amount of talent coming back. Of course, Cardinal Newman has a ton of returning talent as well. The Highlanders know they’ll have to get past the Cardinals. Perhaps the third time will be the charm.
Photos by Todd Marshburn