Piedmont boys soccer falls in home finale

(L-R) Riley Stratman, Enzo Bernales, Nikolas Markopoulos, Andrew McLaughlin, Ben Elmquist, and Axel Saldanha on Feb. 6, 2024, at Bishop O'Dowd. (Photo by Scott Stratman)

Piedmont High School’s boys soccer team dropped a 1-0 match to Berkeley at Witter Field on Feb. 8. In addition to being the season finale for the Highlanders, it was also the team’s first match back at Witter Field.

It was also senior night.

The game was scoreless into the 74th minute when the Yellowjackets got their goal. Berkeley had the shot advantage all night.

Before the match, Piedmont honored seniors Aiden Woolwine, Oliver Shafroth, Axel Saldanha, Ben Elmquist, Andrew McLaughlin, Mateo DeVries, and Riley Stratman. The group helped the Highlanders win back-to-back North Coast Section Division titles. This year’s team will try to make it three in a row when playoff seedings are announced on Feb. 11.

Witter Field has been undergoing a renovation that was supposed to be completed last November. After several delays, the Piedmont Unified School District decided to pause the work even though the new track has not yet been laid. The break in construction allowed the soccer teams to play one home match before the end of the regular season and host potential playoff matches.

On Feb. 6, visiting Piedmont rallied to tie Bishop O’Dowd, 2-2. The Dragons went up 2-0 in the first half. In the 64th minute, Nikolas Markopoulos drew a penalty kick and Enzo Bernales scored to make it 2-1. Four minutes later, McLaughlin drew a penalty kick and again Bernales put it home to tie the score.

Oliver Shafroth (foreground) and Enzo Bernales on Feb. 6, 2024, at Bishop O’Dowd. (Photo by Scott Stratman)

Saldanha had a late save on a penalty kick to preserve the tie.

Piedmont finished the regular season 10-2-3 on the field. The Highlanders were 5-2-3 in West Alameda County Conference Foothill Division play. They have moved up to Division 3 in NCS after winning the past two Division 4 championships.

Jacob Faucher (8) and Nikolas Markopoulos (22) on Feb. 6, 2024, at Bishop O’Dowd. (Photo by Scott Stratman)

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