Lady Wolves Kick Off New Soccer Season

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Lady Wolves Kick Off New Soccer Season

Sophomore defender Ellie Lemaster guards the ball from a McKinney player.

Sophomore defender Ellie Lemaster guards the ball from a McKinney player.

Staff Photo

Sophomore defender Ellie Lemaster guards the ball from a McKinney player.

Staff Photo

Staff Photo

Sophomore defender Ellie Lemaster guards the ball from a McKinney player.

Whitney Patterson, Associate Editor

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With a fresh group of younger players joining the team and high expectations to live up to, the varsity girls soccer team hopes to advance to district playoffs and beyond.

“We’re a really young team this year with mainly sophomores and freshman,” senior midfielder Hannah Saysan said. “It’s a challenge, but even though we don’t have many senior players we’re still able to win games. We have a lot of spunk and enthusiasm and we use that to our advantage.”

Another one of the challenges of having a younger team is finding a style of play that works well for everyone.

“Finding our rhythm was a challenge at the beginning of the year, but I think we’ve handled it pretty well,” junior midfielder Regan Chapman said. “We’ve become like one big family and I think that helps on the field.”

Senior midfielder Nicki Pak remains optimistic about the future for the Lady Wolves, and believes that team chemistry and communication is key to success.

“Our team is really young this year but I believe that the future of this program is going to dominate,” Pak said. “We just need to work together and stay aggressive.”

Chapman, who began playing soccer when she was just three, emphasizes that their ‘one day at a time’ mentality is what keeps the team motivated.  

“Right now, our immediate goal is to make District playoffs,” Chapman said. “We have a long-term goal to win State but right now we’re just focusing on one game at a time.”

On Thursdays before their Friday home games, the girls have a tradition to go to a team member’s house to eat and spend time together, which helps boost enthusiasm for the next day.

“Come game day we all text in the group chat and motivate each other,” Pak said. “Once we get to the stadium, we watch the junior varsity (JV) game and cheer them on, then jam out to music in the locker room.”
Throughout the week, Varsity Coach Tara Balogh and JV Coach Jackie Kerestine also push the players to perform their best on the field.

“Both of our coaches have different ways of motivating us, “Saysan said. “Coach K relates to the players more because she’s fresh out of playing collegiate soccer, and she understands the demands of the sport. Coach Balogh brings lots of experience. She pushes us to be competitive, and that drive helps us stay motivated.”

Yet, Chapman says that of the best parts of playing for the team comes not from winning but from the bonds the girls form with one another.

“Having friends you normally wouldn’t see every day who are in different grades than you or go to Shepton or Jasper is really cool,” Chapman said. “You get to meet so many new people and playing the sport connects you worldwide with others who love soccer.”

Chapman, who was a JV captain her freshman and sophomore year and is now a varsity captain, believes that being on the team has allowed her leadership skills to develop. With key players such as senior Lindsey Adkins sidelined due to injury, younger players have been stepping up to guide the team.

“I’ve learned to be grateful with the abilities that I’ve have been blessed with,” Chapman said. “The ability to play a sport can be something people take for granted, so we just have to continue working hard and leave it all on the field.”

For Saysan, these last few games with her teammates represent years of dedication to the sport she loves.

“It’s such an honor to represent your high school, especially playing a sport that you love,” Saysan said. “This is a once in a lifetime experience and we’re making the best of it.”  

Chapman agreed, emphasizing the importance of making memories to cherish for a lifetime.

“High school sports only last four years,” Chapman said. “Playing for our team or school might not seem important right now, but looking back, these will be some of the best years of our lives.”

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Lady Wolves Kick Off New Soccer Season