Prep soccer report: Competing and having a bit of fun

Oscar Botello (9) was in the middle of things all day.

Eastside Prep junior varsity boys soccer coach Josh Specht made his post-game speech short and sweet. He, along with his wife Shannon, had to get back to work.

Specht had a reason to be happy. Eastside scored twice in the final five minutes of its West Bay Athletic League contest to complete a 3-3 draw with host Pinewood on Monday.

On the other side, Pinewood coaches Aidan Roberts, Jake Tracy and Daniel Espinel, all with ties to Stanford, were just as happy with the way the Panthers played. They were pushing at the end and nearly scored the game winner before the final whistle.

Watching junior varsity sports is like watching an interactive classroom, with players and coaches sharing knowledge and exchanging information as they learn, quite literally, on the run.

Every good play was acknowledged and every mistake was quickly forgotten. The Pinewood's girls' team made up most of the crowd and they were busy practicing on the tennis courts.

Still, there were a handful of people watching from the one set of bleachers available on the east side of the pitch and they saw an entertaining game.

Pinewood's Peter Schusser scored twice, as did Eastside's Moises Bravo. Bringing a well-coordinated attack to fruition feels just as good on a field in Los Altos Hills and it does on a field during a World Cup final.

Specht tried to get the attention of one of his players, who was happily running around after one score. "Let him celebrate," Specht said, smiling, in deference.

Liam Smith converted a penalty shot for Pinewood and Juan Lopez also scored for Eastside.

Both goalies, Eastside's Ricardo Enriquez-Mancia and Pinewood's Bambos Christoforou, each made a highlight reel save during the game.

Every once in a while it's good to get out and watch future varsity players. They work hard and play hard and they're having fun.

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— Rick Eymer/Palo Alto Online Sports

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