This Friday girls soccer officially starts their season with a rivalry game against Helias High School, a match that will certainly test the team’s abilities.
Last year, the girls lost to Helias. Head coach Gary Drewing knows his girls are anxious to play a tough opponent, but he sees the opener as a chance to discover how their team stacks up compared to real competition.
“There is an added significance to a match with a local team because usually there is familiarity with some of the girls playing together in the fall. The girls want to preform well against their club soccer teammates,” Drewing said. “Playing Helias in the beginning of the season will test our strengths against a good opponent, and expose the areas we need to work on more. During this part of the season we are focusing on our selfs and not the other team.”
Junior Ronni Farid remembers the defeat well, stating that Helias was “one of the hardest competitions of the year.”
“I hope we play well on Friday and I always get nervous, no matter the competition,” Farid said. “I can’t wait for season to officially start. I love my team and I can only hope for the best.”
Senior Sydney Griggs said that the team is ready to start the season after lots of practice and countless hours of hard work. The cold weather never deterred the girls during preseason, it only drove them indoors.
“Practices have been awesome, we are really excited and have high energy for this season so practices have been intense,” Griggs said. “We have been team bonding a lot: practice everyday of the week, doing drills [and] running. But it’s great because our team is really just a big family so it makes having practice everyday fun.”
Farid agrees, adding that the teamwork the team displays really helps them function as one cohesive unit.
“Practices have been going very well. Coach has really helped us build as a team by starting with technical soccer and slowly moving larger,” Farid said. “There are some girls who stand out, of course, but we all work so well together that one does not shadow the others.”
Drewing said the team is still looking for players to take leadership roles though.
“Every great team has an individual or group of individuals that help push the team to be better every day. We are still searching for a clear leadership identity,” Drewing said. “We need to find our identity, work on playing to our strengths, and giving support to our weakness.”
He also said that by forcing players to become skilled in multiple positions and categories they will grow and expand their repertoire, furthering their potential.
“I expect us to be a close group and I really feel that can make us a very strong team. We have several players that are playing positions that they haven’t played,” Drewing said. “These players are still a bit uncomfortable with their new role and will take a bit of time to grow. Good players accept and overcome challenges for the team and their new found versatility will be a future strength.”
For Griggs this season marks the end of her high school career and her last chance to prepare for her impending college career. Griggs will be playing at the University of Central Missouri.
“[It’s] definitely bitter sweet,” Griggs said. “I’m for sure ready to move on, but at the same time I love my soccer family and have had so much fun with them.”
By Abby Kempf