This was cool to write because even though it’s not my strong suit, it was fun to try out writing a sports story. Pictures were provided so my editor in chief said not to get any. The picture provided in the paper was from Jonathan Aigner.
The girls soccer team was experiencing a losing streak, the first one in five years, as they struggled to rebuild their team. That streak was broken during the home game over spring break as the girls beat the rival Turner Ashby 5-0. The team, including junior stopper Kendall Thompson, senior center-back Olivia Yutzy and senior goalie Madelyn Penrod, is working hard to bring the team together and play better as a whole, fueled by the breaking of this streak.
“Everyone handled [losing] differently. Some people got pissed off, some people pushed themselves…we were tired of losing and definitely decided we need to win,” Penrod said.
Even with the recent win, the past games are still driving the team to succeed even more.
“I think [the past loses] just makes everybody more anxious to beat all of these other teams, [the other games] kind of fuel the fire,” Thompson said.
The game at Turner Ashby is seen as a turning point in the team’s record.
“We had a setback in the beginning of the season, but the last game we won 5-0, so I feel like we definitely found ourselves and how we should be playing together,” Penrod said. “We found a new formation, we got everyone set into their position, we did something differently in that game…with our first district win, I feel like this one really set the bar for us.”
The challenge that the team had been facing, and still is dealing with, is the loss of five seniors from the last year and two more players who would have been seniors this year, but cannot play. The newest varsity players are often playing in positions they have not been in before due to the team’s need to fill the spots lost from the previous year.
“We’re playing well, but the challenge is just people being inexperienced on varsity, not used to playing on the varsity level,” Yutzy said.
The young players are facing many new things as they rise to this level of the sport.
“They’re playing against older people and also they’re just trying to get a feel for new position, which is always scary and tough when you’re not sure what you’re supposed to do,” Penrod said.
This placement process requires experimenting on behalf of the coaches.
“We just haven’t really figured out who’s better playing where, so our coach is just playing everybody everywhere,” Thompson said.
The coaches are putting effort into finding the right fit in positioning for both the team and individual.
“I think our coaches definitely understand that we’re not the same team we have been in the past and they’re really working with everyone to figure out who’s best in what position and what’s going to be best for team,” Penrod said. All players must work with and survey the players in new positions as well to better network through the game.
“You have to work with the new players and watch to figure out what their playing style is and how you can help them the best,” Penrod said. “Younger players might feel like they’re not as confident or as strong as [the upperclassmen], but that shouldn’t be a setback. We’re all a team. We all work together.”
This point in a soccer career requires perseverance according to Yutzy.
“[Our team needs to remember] just whatever position you get put in, do your best at it even if you may not know what you’re doing, you just need to work hard and give it your all,” Yutzy said.
Despite the quantity of young players, Penrod has faith in the team.
“We still have the potential to become a really great team and we’re on the come up of rebuilding our team,” Penrod said.
As the team is overcoming this trial, they are connecting more easily as well as gaining strength.
“We’re playing really good right now. We’re finally starting to get used to playing together and moving up and down field as a team,” Thompson said.