ALL-NORTH COAST SECTION
Player of the Year
ZACK BATCHELDER, MONTGOMERY
It’s hard to imagine anyone having a better season than Montgomery senior Zack Batchelder. Not just in the North Bay League, not just in the
North Coast Section, but anywhere that soccer is played at a high level.
Batchelder racked up an amazing 55 goals to go with 16 assists, and yet his individual prowess led to something even bigger, as his
Vikings captured their third straight North Coast Section title, first NCS Division I title in school history for any sport and first
CIF NorCal title in program history. The UC Davis-bound standout also made arguably his biggest mark late in the season, finding the
back of the net in every post-season match, often multiple times in each game.
“Zack is a stone cold assassin, and the most clinical natural finisher I have ever coached,” said Montgomery coach Jon Schwan. “He
uses his speed and knowledge of angles to toy with defenders, both with and without the ball. He is so underrated in terms of strength
and speed, but he has never lost a foot race.”
Batchelder may not have lost a foot race all season long, and he certainly didn’t lose many battles with defenders either. As the season
wore on – a special one indeed for Montgomery, which finished the year 26-0-1 – Batchelder’s performances became more Herculean, especially
in the playoffs.
The Vikings opened the post-season with a 3-0 win over Foothill, a match which featured two goals and an assist for Batchelder. But that
was nothing compared to the quarterfinals, when the speedy striker scored all five of his team’s goals in a 5-1 win over Monte Vista.
Batchelder added a brace during a 3-0 semifinal win over Clayton Valley, and then spread the icing on the cake with two goals and an
assist during a 3-2 title game victory over Berkeley.
If there was such a thing as an NCS all-tournament Team, Batchelder would certainly have been named the MVP of the section playoffs after
amassing 11 goals and two assists in the four playoff matches. Almost more unbelievable was that Batchelder was far from finished, as
Montgomery went after the regional title. Three goals and two assists sparked a 6-0 victory over Tokay-Lodi in the CIF NorCal Division
I quarterfinals, and he then scored the only goal in a 1-0 semifinal win over CCS Open Division champion Bellarmine.
Finally, goal number 55 was added during a regional championship victory over SJS Division I champion Jesuit-Carmichael.
The past two seasons were a coming-out party for the 5-foot-9 Batchelder, who could be easily overlooked due to his size. A varsity
player for the past three seasons, Batchelder helped lead the Vikings to 70 victories in the past three years, including back-to-back
NCS Division II titles before Montgomery moved up to Division I this year under the competitive equity bylaws and promptly added the
school’s first Division I crown.
As a junior, Batchelder notched 32 goals and 12 assists, earning first-team all-NCS honors to go with his NBL-Oak Player of the Year
honors. As a senior, however, he had no equal, blitzing every opposing defense which tried to slow him down. He had 20 multi-goal
performances, including regular-season braces against Vintage, San Ramon Valley and Berkeley, all among the top Division I programs
in the section.
“Zack is a kid who has found a way to keep improving throughout his high school career, so it will be fun to watch his college journey
unfold,” Schwan said. “He thrives on the doubt of others, and now he has a whole new group of people who will doubt him at the next
level, but I will never be one of them.”
For his efforts this past season, we are pleased to recognize Zack Batchelder as the Prep2Prep North Coast Section Player of the Year.
Other players considered for this award include Berkeley’s Kalani Kossa-Rienzi, Montgomery’s Kevin Welch, De La Salle’s Ramiro Rosas,
Ygnacio Valley’s Diego Ramos and Saint Mary’s’ Wyatt Meyer.
Coach of the Year
JON SCHWAN, MONTGOMERY
Words like “powerhouse” and “dynasty” get tossed around a lot these days when describing runs of greatness, but rarely do they fit so
perfectly as when discussing the boys soccer program at Montgomery High School in Santa Rosa and the string of success it has put together
under head coach Jon Schwan.
For the third consecutive season, the Vikings went unbeaten in the North Bay League and then replicated the feat in the North Coast
Section playoffs. This year, however, Montgomery took its level of success a bit further.
After capturing NCS Division II titles in each of the two previous seasons, the Vikings were elevated into the Division I bracket for
the 2019-2020 season. The larger challenge was hardly reflected in the results, as Montgomery easily dispatched Foothill, Monte Vista
and Clayton Valley in the first three rounds by a combined score of 11-1 before pulling away from Berkeley in the second half of a 3-2
title game victory against the defending section champions. The win over the Yellowjackets was a watershed moment for the Vikings, who
have won 90 games in the past four seasons.
“That title was the first-ever Division I championship in our school history,” said Montgomery athletic director Dean Haskins. “Jon
has a gift to effectively coach the sport of soccer and communicate his ideas to his players. He is also very good at maintaining integrity
and diversity within our program.”
Schwan, a Montgomery alum, then added another first for the program. After falling in the CIF NorCal playoffs following each of its
two previous NCS titles, the Vikings refused to accept a single defeat this past season. They routed Tokay-Lodi in the regional
quarterfinals, then knocked off CCS Open Division champion Bellarmine in the semifinals, 1-0. Finally, a 3-1 victory over Sac-Joaquin
Section Division I champion Jesuit-Carmichael brought home the program’s first CIF regional crown.
“This year’s group was an amazing collection of players who understood what we wanted to do and what it would take,” Schwan said. “They
had very little ego or attitude, we had complete buy-in and everyone knew and understood their role.”
The program’s dominance was a season-long trend, one which started with a 5-1 victory over a traditionally strong Marin Academy team.
Mid-December featured a 5-2 victory over Vintage-Napa, and the impressive victories continued to pile up from there. The eventual NBL
division champions met two days later, when the Vikings turned away an upstart Piner team, 2-1, and early January featured an eye-opening
4-1 win over Berkeley. After blanking San Ramon Valley one week after the win over Berkeley, it was clear that all Montgomery had to
do was avoid an upset loss in order to cement the top seed in the Division I playoff bracket.
The Vikings posted eight straight wins by shutout late in the season, but the regular-season finale against Rancho Cotate nearly spoiled
the unbeaten regular season. The Cougars led by a goal at the half, but freshman Drayden Ponte’s second-half equalizer allowed Montgomery
to escape with a draw, a result which would end up being the only blemish on the record all season long.
“We didn’t approach that game the right way, with the playoffs already on the horizon,” Schwan said. “In hindsight, the end result
(against Rancho Cotate) was probably a blessing in disguise.”
Indeed, the draw against the Cougars left Montgomery refocused and intent on asserting its dominance in the post-season, which it
ultimately did with lasting effect.
“This team improved both mentally and tactically with what we wanted to do, game in and game out,” Schwan stated. “We also had such
an underrated defense and goalkeeper who got to show their prowess in the playoffs when the games got tighter. In all, this was a
magical group of guys and a magical outcome for the season.”
For his efforts this past season, we are pleased to recognize Jon Schwan as the Prep2Prep North Coast Section Coach of the Year.
Other coaches considered for this award include Berkeley’s Andre Hebert, De La Salle’s Derricke Brown, Las Lomas’ Kurt Adkins and
Ygnacio Valley’s Cesar Chavez.
FIRST TEAM ALL-NCS
Alex Lopez, Ygnacio Valley
Lopez, a first-team all-DAL selection, was especially lethal in the post-season for the Warriors. The Humboldt State commit had 12 goals
and six assists during the season, but five goals came in the section playoffs, including the game-winner in the
quarterfinals against De Anza, a brace in the semifinals
against San Rafael and another goal during the come-from-behind win over Albany in the final.
Fynn Hayton-Ruffner, Albany
The lanky junior and TCAL-Stone MVP was phenomenal for the Cougars, especially down the stretch. The 6-foot-2 attacker had 17 goals and 10
assists, but nothing could slow him down in the post-season, when he had key goals in wins over Marin Academy
and Terra Linda before notching a brace during a title game loss to Ygnacio Valley.
Zack Batchelder, Montgomery
The top player in the section this year and UC Davis commit, Batchelder had a whopping 55 goals and 18 assists for the Division I champion
Vikings. 16 of those goals came during an extended post-season run for Montgomery, which reached the NorCal
Emmanuel Duran, Vintage
The Offensive Player of the Year in the VVAL, Duran had double-digit goal totals for the Crushers, leading them to a VVAL title and a blowout of Dublin in the
first-round of the Division I playoffs before falling in the quarterfinals.
Wyatt Meyer, Saint Mary’s
The Cal-bound Meyer led the Panthers on a deep playoff run, culminating with a NCS Division IV championship and berth in the NorCal
regionals. Meyer had a brace and an assist in the section title game win over Cardinal Newman, and was
also a first-team TCAL-Rock selection.
Kalani Kossa-Rienzi, Berkeley
The Washington-bound standout had 10 goals and 14 assists for the Yellowjackets, leading them back to the Division I title game. That
included a key goal during a quarterfinal win over San Ramon Valley, and a goal during Berkeley’s
title-game loss to Montgomery. He was also the back-to-back Player of the Year in the WACC-Foothill.
Ben Wold, Amador Valley
The first-team all-EBAL selection was the key cog for the Dons’ attack and the difference-maker in many of their matches with his
ability to play on the attack and drop back defensively. He led them to a near-upset of De La Salle in
the first round of the section playoffs.
Ben Parker, De La Salle
The defensive-minded Spartans allowed just 22 goals in 25 matches as they captured the EBAL title and reached the Division I semifinals.
Parker was a big reason why and was recognized as a first-team all-EBAL selection.
Diego Ramos, Ygnacio Valley
Ramos was not only named Defensive Player of the Year in the DAL, but his efforts all over the pitch led the Warriors to the NCS
Division III title, as YV allowed just 20 goals in 23 matches. He also found ways to help spark the
attack, adding three goals and 12 assists, including a brace during a big non-league win over Marin Academy.
SECOND TEAM ALL-NCS
Stanley Gaither, Redwood
The first-team all-MCAL selection could score and create up front for the Giants, assisting on both goals in a section semifinal win
over Northgate, while scoring the only goal in a title game loss. He also had an assist during their
quarterfinal comeback win.
Landon Leal Ruiz, Vintage
A holding mid for the Crushers, Leal Ruiz is not only known for his defensive prowess, but also finds ways to create offensively, adding
12 goals and six assists, including the game-winner in a late-season victory over rival Napa. He was a
first-team all-VVAL selection.
Gabriel Bracken Serra, Berkeley
The first-team WACC-Foothill selection and University of San Francisco commit had 12 goals and 12 assists for the Division I runner-up,
including a goal and an assist during a quarterfinal win over San Ramon Valley and assisted on the game-winning
goal in the semifinals against De La Salle.
Hayden Fargo, Redwood
The Giants allowed just 16 goals in 16 league matches, with Fargo anchoring the defense. He turned up his game in the post-season, part
of a stingy back line that allowed just three goals in five different section and regional playoff victories,
as Redwood reached the title game in both brackets.
Angel Tapia, Vintage
The co-Defensive Player of the Year in the VVAL was instrumental in helping lead the Crushers to a league title and a quarterfinal
appearance in the Division I playoffs, especially as the team posted shutouts in four of five matches
late in the season.
Jax Williams, Pittsburg
The MVP of the BVAL posted 81 saves and eight clean sheets to lead the Pirates to a league title and a berth in the Division I quarterfinals.
His efforts against De La Salle in the quarterfinals kept Pittsburg in the game until the final minute.
THIRD TEAM ALL-NCS
Drayden Ponte (Montgomery), Paris Manthoulis (Branson), Colby Allard (Las Lomas), Anthony Fuller (Concord), Alberto Padilla (Freedom),
Jose Rodriguez (De Anza), Alex Dominguez (Piner)
Owen Flanagan (University), Gael Cervera Ramirez (Elsie Allen), Biniam Mitiku (Washington), Elexsio Pelayo (Alameda), Eduardo Navarro
(Freedom), Dominic Giusto (De La Salle), Owen Callahan (San Ramon Valley), Justin Carr (Marin Academy), Alex
Angel Rodriguez (Napa), Johny Aviles (Casa Grande), Michael McMasters (Amador Valley), Andrew Alvarado (Kennedy-Richmond), Edgar
Guerra (Maria Carrillo)
Nick Geannacopulos, Will Easley
Lucas Schneider, Mack Woodworth
Ishaan Das, Jayden Arfa
Julian Barrera, Frank Jimenez
Sergio Navarro, Graeson Gamorras
Brennan Blondin, Owen Walsh
Carlos Pineda, Elio Corral
Kyle Lew, Chase Anderson
Shea Batchelder, Justin Patterson
Daniel Edgide, Sean Laliberte
Zachery Lau, Kareen Elshabaki
CLAYTON VALLEY CHARTER:
Anthony Vasquez, Jesus Alvarado
DE LA SALLE:
Giovanni Maya, Alex Pantoja
Giovano Gonzalez, Caesar Soto
Alex Cuellar, Khristian Molina
Jackson Harper, Salvador Martinez
Alejandro Cano, David Mendoza
Nick Young, Zach Miller
Marc Eidelhoch, Max Beldner
Rohan Crossland, Kaito Maehara
Sean Neville, Adrian Vasquez
MISSION SAN JOSE:
Daniel Ledesma, Emmanuel Padilla, Jack Medin
Julian Alvarez, Cruz Mejia
Robert Sanchez, Jose Luna
Rico Barker, Rafael Stankiewicz
Luis Quiroz, Sergio Villagomez
Luis Toribio, Cristian Preza
Alex Sandoval, Manny Garcia
Shawn Verdote, Jacob Bradley, Ben Banks-Altekruse
Lucas Dugue, Oluwatobi Babaouge
Walter Avallaneda, Michael Gonzalez
Mario Huerta, Emerson Calderon
Max Diaz, Bryon De Leon
SAN RAMON VALLEY:
Spencer Gillen, Joe Kerr
Justin Castillo, Oscar Rivas
ST. PATRICK-ST. VINCENT:
Ian Ryan, Alex Uchimura
Antonio Carranza, Alex Barragan