The 2018 fall season has been an unexpectedly long one for the girls soccer team. We will be headed to the state championships Friday, November 16, 2018 at 7:30 pm at Loyola.
As a member of the team our long ride has shocked a lot of people. We have always been a defensive team, only letting up 10 goals in 19 games. But as the season goes on we have gained offensive power too. Senior captain Chidera Ogwulu says, “Our team has been through ups and downs. We come together and work stuff out in our lows and it’s great to see us play when we do. Our team has gotten so much stronger and I think that’s a big part in why we have come so far.”
The team’s chemistry is a big part of our success. We have always pushed each other in practices, whether in a game of possession or our daily runs, we fight to make everyone better. Fighting and playing for each other everyday has let us be in every game.
The state championship game will be our 20th game of the season, 6th of playoffs, so we all have some superstitions. As a team that has never made it this far, we put some importance into our game day rituals. Head coach Paul Bryan says before our second round game against Poolesville, “I’m a creature of habit. When somethings working you gotta stick with it.” He says this as we line up to run a green mile, what feels like the hundreths one this season to anyone apart of the team. Since August 8th we have been pushing each other to get to the point we are at now.
This team takes all the little things seriously. From ‘the squeeze’ that starts from junior Hally O’Keefe while we hold hands as the National Anthem plays, to the pregame caffeine drinks provided by keeper Jazz Salters. From the point we get home from school, to the bus ride, to warming up, we all have little things we must do to feel ready to play.
On the bus ride there, junior Kasie Ogwulu has to put her cleats on, no matter how early we may get to a game. Hally O’Keefe and Jazz Salters must eat their pregame Panera meal. Chidera Ogwulu eats two clementines, which must be peeled by Gabby Zeller.
As we warm-up we have to be in the correct lines. Carly Heller and Dani Manchester follow in Jazz Salters’ line and must do their dance. Then we go through our warm-up routine and are ready to go. Senior captain Leah Wells gives us a pep talk to get us going so we can “punch them in the mouth.” The bench order is always the same. Team manager, Simone Martin, says, “The bench order can’t be messed up because it throws off the dynamic.” She sits next to Lea Roberts, then it’s Dani Manchester next to Carly Heller, and then Emily Deely and Avonleigh Broadhurst together. Walking onto the field Jazz and I have to do our pregame handshake. After winning the game we just played, Maggie Molnar remarks, “We always sing ‘All we do is Win.’”
The support from this town as we continue to win continues to grow and push us to not only play for each other, but play for our town. We hope to see a big crowd as we fight for our first state title Friday night.