SG Soccer: Season Goals, Two for Three and Counting
By Erik Van Dyke
Facts? CAIS, while the highlight of the season, was draining. 5 games in 3 days, giving all we had. Physically weary. Mentally exhausted. Mountains of homework to catch up on. Multiple sore ankles and groins and shin splints. But there was no rest for these Spartans, who sleepwalked off the bus at 1:30 am Saturday morning and, 38 hours later, laced the cleats back up for the final push of the ETIAC regular season.
Monday – Home vs RRHS
Something has to be our worst game of the year, especially the second half. Swinging and missing kicks, mishandling long shots, defensive miscues, poor offensive execution – it was all on display. But Gloria said it best post-game: “We gave what we could.” It’s not easy to play when your legs are dead and your body feels slow and heavy. But we gutted it out. Maddie and the defence kept the ball out of our net, Camryn was a crossing machine on the left side, Player Of The Game Addy Pierce scored twice from 35 yards(!) out, and Gloria notched one of the Goals Of The Year – and we’ve had some nice ones this season! – when, from half, she beat three defenders, nutmegging one(!) on the right side before gaining the box and coolly finishing bottom left. Good news #1? 3-0 final score. Good news #2? Day off tomorrow.
Wednesday – Home vs Alexander Galt
Your Spartans were right back at it, in a “Win-The-Game Clinch-The-Banner” game vs Galt. And to the players’ credit, they came out focused. Driven. The CAIS hangover was over. We played fast and smart and tough from the opening whistle. But so did the Pipers. And when you get two good soccer teams playing well for 80 minutes, both with multiple scoring chances, games are decided by a few critical moments. Or crossbars! Ultimately, Galt prevailed on this day, 4-2, with an inspired effort and an intelligent game plan. But it has always been true that you learn more from losses than you do from wins, and this coach spent hours that night trying to come up with ways to neutralize the Pipers’ lightning-quick counterattacks. Did I come up with any answers? If our teams meet again in The Playoffs, we will see.
We interrupt this writeup for the following announcement: On Thursday, Massey-Vanier gave Coach Van Dyke the best birthday present ever when they beat Galt 4-1, which clinched the regular season banner for Stanstead College! Happy Birthday indeed!
Saturday @ BCS
With The Banner clinched, we could have a good time in our last league game of 2023-24. And boy, did we! Players got huge minutes who usually don’t. Annie started in nets but finished as a striker – and almost scored when she hit the post! EdytheMcKenzie (relying on her “extensive” 6th grade experience) played the entire second half as goaltender. Gloria and Nya went out together as strikers at one point, Alexa and Sofia did the same, players played in different position all over the place, and, in her only non-goalie appearance of her three-year senior soccer career, Player Of The Game Maddie Lippmann, with her parents there to see it, started at striker and scored not one but TWO beautiful goals that had her teammates going bonkers. The smile on Maddie’s face after her first goal? I’ll remember that for a while. It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes you do get that Disney moment.
We had three objectives for this season, and the talent to reach them: 1) Perform well at CAIS; 2) win the ETIAC league banner; and 3) finish as playoff champions. We’re 2 for 3. One more job to do. And it starts now. Today. Semifinals vs Richmond Regional High School. Here at home. No rest for these Spartans. We don’t need it.