BHS boys soccer declared North Coast Sectional champions


After finishing second in their league, the Berkeley High School School boys varsity soccer team advanced to the first round of the North Coast Sectional (NCS) Division 1 playoffs, having only lost two games in the regular season. BHS needed to win all four games in the knockout tournament to be declared NCS champions. 

Their first opponent was Montgomery High School. Going into the game, BHS was heavily predicted to win, as they were ranked 50th in California, and Montgomery was ranked 152nd. However, the game ended up going to overtime, and BHS secured the win with a goal from senior Finn Gohlke. The final score was 1-0 BHS.

In the quarterfinals, the Jackets faced Redwood High School, who had gone undefeated in their league games. The game was very close, but neither team was able to score and secure the upper hand. The regular time and overtime both ended scoreless, 0-0, so the game went to a penalty shoot-out. Berkeley’s Gohlke, Oliver Gill, and Harlem Clemons were all able to score their penalty kicks, and senior goalie Toby Jacobson-Bell was able to save all three of Redwood’s penalties, ensuring a BHS win. 

In the semi-final of NCS, BHS went head-to-head with Monte Vista High School. The game was scoreless until the last two minutes, when senior Marlow Buettner rolled the ball into the net, securing Berkeley’s victory.

Finally, in the NCS championship game, Berkeley High School and Dougherty Valley High School competed against each other for the title. The game went scoreless into the second half. Berkeley had a great opportunity off of a free kick from the 35-yard line. The free kick landed right in front of the goal, where Buettner shot the ball, but it was blocked. After collecting the rebound, Buettner shot again, and it was saved by Dougherty Valley High’s keeper. 

The game then went into overtime, where sophomore forward Jake Goetting laid the ball off to junior midfielder Samuel Sha who split the ball between Dougherty’s defenders. The ball then found Goetting again, who scored, as he fell due to a foul by Dougherty Valley. 

In the midst of Berkeley’s celebration, the referee said that because there was a foul before the shot occurred, BHS would have a penalty kick, but the goal was not valid. Buettner stepped up to take the game-winning shot, and he kicked the ball in the bottom left corner, winning BHS the game and making them NCS champions for the first time in four years.

Senior midfielder Oliver Gill shoots the ball in the first round of the CIF championships.

Senior midfielder Oliver Gill shoots the ball in the first round of the CIF championships.

Nolan Whitehill

When reflecting on the season, Jacobson-Bell said, “It was our year; we went through three years, got knocked out in the first round every time, sophomore and junior year got knocked out in the first round, so we all knew the goal.” 

He also spoke about the uniqueness of this year’s team having 19 seniors, as well as being an unusually big team, which he said made them more competitive. 

BHS senior forward Kea Morshed credited the team’s chemistry and closeness as key factors to their victory. “We won because we had a lot of positive peer to peer leadership and the group was cohesive; we’ve known each other for a while,” Morshed said. “I definitely got nervous sometimes, but had to remember that the team is a family. Regardless of what happened, we were there for each other.”

After their NCS win, BHS began to play in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) NorCal Championships. Their first game in the championship was against Saint Francis High School. 

The first half of the game was filled with goal-scoring opportunities by BHS. The closest to a goal opportunity was when junior forward Oliver Adams passed it to senior forward Harlem Clemons who had a shot on goal but hit the crossbar. However, despite BHS’s many attacking opportunities, the first half ended scoreless. 

Within the first 2 minutes of the second half, Adams shot and scored from near range. However, as Berkeley celebrated their goal, Saint Francis was able to get a breakaway, scoring and tying up the game. The game remained tied throughout the end of the regular game time and overtime, leaving it to penalties. 

Sadly, BHS lost on penalties, marking an end to their long and successful season.