El Camino boys’ soccer coach Ken Anderson has attended the Central Coast soccer seedings meeting for the last several years, only to see his Colts come up short in securing a playoff berth.
He attended Saturday’s seeding meeting and it was merely a formality. By virtue of the Colts’ scoreless tie with Hillsdale Friday, El Camino clinched the Peninsula Athletic League’s Ocean Division title and the division’s automatic CCS berth.
“Just to see our team up there finally, finally, it felt good,” Anderson said.
It is the Colts first CCS berth since 1986 and the league title was their first since 1985 — back when Anderson was a player. Now, after 23 years as El Camino’s coach, he leads the Colts back to the playoffs.
“(This is a culmination) of seven years of progress,” Anderson said. “Now, besides have a coach/player relationship (with the team), we share a championship (as players). They made some history this year.”
El Camino is just one of 10 San Mateo County boys’ squads to qualify for CCS: No. 11 Sequoia (8-8-2), No. 7 Menlo-Atherton (11-5-2) and No. 8 Carlmont (8-7-4) in Division I; No. 12 Woodside (8-7-5) and No. 3 Serra (14-2-4) in Division II; and Bay Division champion and No. 1 seed Half Moon Bay (14-5-1), No. 10 Sacred Heart Prep (14-5-1) and No. 3 Burlingame (13-4-3) in Division III.
A big surprise was South City, which finished a point behind El Camino in the Ocean Division standings, but also earned a spot in the Division II bracket. South City (12-5-3) received the No. 11 seed and will face two-time defending champion No. 6 Willow Glen (10-6-3) at 6 p.m. Wednesday in San Jose.
On the girls’ side, six teams made the playoffs: No. 4 Carlmont (12-5-3) in Division I; No. 4 Woodside (15-2-3), the Bay Division and defending CCS champion, and No. 9 Terra Nova (17-1), the Ocean Division champion in Division II; and No. 6 Sacred Heart Prep (16-2-2), No. 3 Burlingame (12-3-5) and top-seed Menlo School (15-3-2) in Division III.
On top of making the playoffs, El Camino (11-5-4), the No. 9 seed in Division II, will host a first-round playoff game by virtue of being a league champion and will face No. 8 Overfelt (8-4-8) 3 p.m. Wednesday.
Going into Friday’s regular-season finale, El Camino knew what it had to do: win or tie with Hillsdale. A loss would have made South City the Ocean champ, which beat Mills 3-2 Friday.
Neither the Colts nor the Knights took many chances in trying to pull out a win.
“[Hillsdale] bunkered down (defensively),” Anderson said. “[Hillsdale coach Andy Hodzic] told us before the game they were going to play for the tie. Our guys knew that was the least we could do (and still win the division championship).”
Anderson’s Colts played it close the vest, as well, not wanting to risk giving up a goal and having to play from behind.
“I didn’t want to get countered,” Anderson said. “We played a safe match as well.”
When the final whistle sounded, Anderson said there was mixed reactions from his team. No one likes a tie, but in the Colts’ case, it was infinitely better than a loss.
“We didn’t lose. We didn’t win, but we’re champs,” Anderson said.