High School Sports

Capital Christian is proud to be yellow in winning fourth consecutive boys soccer title

By Bill Paterson

Capital Christian boys soccer coach Ab Alvarez won't be getting rid of those gaudy neon yellow jerseys anytime soon.

The Cougars haven't lost since they started wearing the tops three years ago for senior night and in the playoffs.

They had them on again Saturday morning in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V championship game at Cosumnes Oaks High School.

And like clockwork, the top-seeded Cougars defeated No. 6 Highlands 2-1 to win their fourth consecutive section championship and second at D-V.

Senior forward Paul Herscowitz had both goals from assists by senior midfielder Taylor Garcia.

In victory, Capital Christian (18-3-0) becomes the first school to win four consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section boys soccer titles since St. Patrick-St. Vincent of Vallejo won four D-II titles from 1987 to 1990.

They also ran their record to 15-0 in yellow jersey matches, which they began wearing as a tribute to former Cougars' goalkeeper Jonathon Murray, now a redshirt sophomore at the University of San Diego.

As a senior in 2011, the Granite Bay resident helped lead Capital Christian to the school's first boys section soccer title after two consecutive runners-up finishes.

That season Murray gave up a spot with the elite California Development Academy (now San Juan) to stay with his high school team. United States Soccer Federation officials made the CDA players choose to either play high school or club but not both.

"It was a way for us to honor Jonny's loyalty," said Alvarez, also the school's principal. "It's a way for us to stay connected to him."

Herscowitz, the team's leading scorer, was a teammate of Murray's as a freshman. He says the jerseys have taken on almost magical powers.

"It's like super man putting on his cape," Herscowitz said. "When we put those on, we believe we can beat anyone. And we've been doing it every year. Four section titles. That's so amazing. It's a dream."

The gritty Scots (12-5-0), making their first section title appearance, kept Capital Christian out the nets through the first 60 minutes before Garcia placed a long free kick right at the head of Herscowitz, who flicked it past the Scots' goalkeeper.

Herscowitz added what proved to be the game winning goal in the 87th minute from another Garcia assist.

Moments later, Highlands' Axel Ruano scored to cut the lead back to one.

"Taylor is such a good midfielder," Herscowitz said. "He knows where to put the ball."

The dynamic duo combined for 29 goals and 19 assists during the regular season.

"They've been quite the combo the whole year," Alvarez said. "They just get along really well, but so does everyone on this team."

The win gives the boys soccer players bragging rights on campus, where Capital Christian is a small-school power in several sports. They are the first sport to win four Sac-Joaquin Section titles.

"It's been neat six years in a row in be in the finals, and in the last four years to win," Alvarez said. "It's obviously a tribute to the guys and their hard work. They leave a legacy for each other."