Bear Cubs’ goalie instrumental in state championship
Santa Rosa men’s soccer team won the 2002 California Community Colleges Commission on Athletics state soccer championship for the second year in a row, and they did it with South Tahoe High School grad Peter Chiarpotti tending goal.
Santa Rose Bear Cubs’ head coach Marty Kinahan said the team finished with the best Division III record in the nation at 22-1-2 and allowed only nine goals all season, including two in the Dec. 8. state championship against Fresno in Lemoore, Calif.
Santa Rosa finished the year ranked second in the United States by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Adidas Junior College Division III rankings. Richland College, in Texas, was ranked No. 1 with a final record of 20-2-0. The Bear Cubs were ranked first in the nation by the same poll last year.
A large part of the team’s success this year, Kinahan said, is due to Chiarpotti.
“He was instrumental,” said Kinahan, head coach for the last five years. “He started every game for us.”
Chiarpotti was one of four keepers for Santa Rosa, but he quickly became the starter. He’s listed fourth in goals against average by the CCCCA at .51, but the rankings only list nine games in which Chiarpotti played. He actually played much more, and can only remember not playing in two out of 24 games.
“Going into the playoffs I had maybe six or five goals scored on me. I was feeling pretty confident throughout the whole year,” Chiarpotti said.
Kinahan originally wanted Chiarpotti to redshirt and gain some experience before seeing playing time, but the determined keeper demonstrated the athletic prowess and poise to start.
The Bear Cubs lost their first preseason game, then went undefeated the rest of the year. They won the Bay Valley Conference for the fourth straight year and were seeded No. 1 in the Northern California Regional Pairings.
They defeated No. 16 Cabrillo College from Santa Cruz, No. 8 Canada College and No. 6 Contra Costa from San Pablo. That earned the Bear Cubs a spot in the final four, where they defeated Pasadena City College and Fresno in the finals.
But it was no easy feat. The Bear Cubs were down 2-0 by the end of the first half, then rebounded with three goals in eight minutes to take the lead.
The Bear Cub coach sees a bright future for his returning keeper, and looks forward to making him one of the team captains next year.
He still has some things he has to work on, such as his strength and speed, but “he’s good enough to move on and play at the next level, definitely,” Kinahan said.
Chiarpotti started at keeper all four years at South Tahoe. His senior year he was voted first team Sierra League.
“As a sophomore he got us to the state championship game,” said South Tahoe coach Joe Winters. “I think he stopped about 15 shots (in the second half) that secured us a 1-0 win.”
But the Vikings couldn’t pull out the victory. It’s been the chip on Chiarpotti’s shoulder until winning the state championship in California.
“There’s no feeling like it,” he said. “I got close when I was in high school, going to the finals. But I finally got to win one.”
Winters said there have only been a handful of goalies in South Tahoe’s history that have been starters all four years.
“We’ve had a lot of great keepers and he ranks among the best of them,” he said.
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