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  • Writer's pictureHugo Traverso

Hansel, Newman Rally Back, Knock Off Defending Champion Crushers

Brody Hansel scored 4 goals and tallied 6 assists en route to the Cardinals 11-9 comeback victory over defending VVAL Champs Vintage High School. Vintage was a perfect 12-0 in the VVAL last year, winning the League, and finished the year 21-5, losing out in the 2nd Round of the NCS Playoffs to Tamalpias. Vintage knocked off Newman in all 3 of their meetings last year, but Newman had a young team last year. Newman was solid last year, going 13-11 and finished 4th in the VVAL, a big step up from 2021, where they finished 3-15 and last in the League. Center Nate Niehaus had an incredible Senior year in 2022 and was a big loss coming into the season for the Cardinals along with Lucas Auslen and Elijah Popkin who also were big contributors to Newman last year.

Newman got a new head coach this year, Alfredo De La Mora, a former member of the Mexican National Team and a former goalie coach at St. Ignatius in San Francisco and at the highly touted San Francisco Water Polo Club. De La Mora was a goalie at Concordia University in Irvine and was very good which lead to him starting for Team Mexico. Newman came with a new look Stating VI of Sophomore Brody Hansel, Sophomore Adam Holmes, Sophomore Harlan Heibel, Junior Kai Slater, Junior Mathias McCarthy and Freshman Tomas McCarthy. The Cardinals performed well in a tournament at the Santa Rosa Junior College Saturday, falling to Ukiah 12-7, but crushed off Lick-Wilmerding 16-4. The Cardinals have the signs of a great team and have a great coach leading them and seem like as the season progresses they will do very well.

Vintage lost 10 seniors last year and came in with only 3 players on their team from last year playing this year. Vintage's JV team last split their series with the Cardinals, beating them in Napa, but were stunned by the Cardinals at the SRJC. Among the Seniors Vintage lost was their All League goalie, but it didn't seem like they had as their new goalie was stopping shots early and the Crushers countered early for some early goals. Near the end of the 1st Quarter, it was 5-0 Vintage as the Crushers had shut off an electric Newman offense. Newman got their first goal from Hansel late in the first, but Vintage responded with a goal and lead 6-1 after the 1st Quarter. Coach De La Mora calmed the Cardinals down and gave them a pep talk. In the 2nd, Newman and Vintage traded goals, and the Crushers lead 8-3 at halftime. In the 2nd half, the Cardinals came out hot and cut the game to a 3 goal defecit, holding Vintage to one goal in the quarter but the Crushers were still up 9-6. Newman had one final push to make and it wasn't looking good. Brody Hansel, Mathias and Tomas McCarthy clutched up in the 4th, with Hansel scoring to put the Cardinals within one with 3 minutes left. Vintage had a couple good chances, but freshman goalie Mason Ballard had some clutch saves to keep Newman in reach. Brody Hansel drew 10 ejections throughout the game, one being with 2 and a half minutes left and a huge ejection as it awarded Newman a 5 meter penalty shot. Mathias McCarthy took it and buried it, beating the Vintage goalie to tie it up for Newman. The Newman side of fans and JV pool erupted with cheers as Newman had flipped the momentum and completely changed the flow of the game. Tomas got the ball and had an open lane on a Newman counter and buried an elegant skip shot to give the Cardinals the lead. Newman got the ball again off a Ballard save and they got the ball to Hansel who buried a brace for the Cardinals to put Newman up 11-9. Vintage ran the clock out on their possession and the Cardinals had done it. They had comeback and finished on an 8-1 run in the 2nd Half to win.

Postgame, Coach De La Mora had this to say about his first league win as the Newman Head Coach, "It felt good that the team kept their composure and believed in themselves and it was a good win. It's nice because it's early in the season and they know what they're capable of." Tomas McCarthy had this to say postgame about his first league win as a freshman, "I feel good. First game, many more to come. The comeback was honestly better than scoring the goals." Newman performed very well and look good heading into their game at the Santa Rosa Junior College on Thursday against American Canyon.

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