Girls look to return to Bay division
Out on the turf and the grass field by the “C” hall, the girls soccer team is tirelessly drilling, conditioning, and shooting as they gear up for the upcoming season. Last season, the Lady Dons went 10-9, keeping their spot in the Bay division for the 2015-2016 season.
As the season approaches, the team expects the overall dynamic to change with the addition of several underclassmen. Typically, eight or nine seniors graduate, but with only five leaving the team this year, the Lady Dons are now faced with the loss of several strong midfield players.
“We always have tried to keep the ball on the ground and pass around the other team instead of kicking it up the field, and I do not see that changing this season,” explains senior goalkeeper Jennifer Parker.
Thus, the team expects to look into a strategy that focuses more on their forwards and defenders. “This is probably the only season where we’re going to be similar to last season,” says coach Nick Dye. “This is going to be similar to last year’s in the sense that we have technical players who like to play with the ball at their feet, and we’ll continue to adjust our style to suit those player’s needs. What I want to emphasize in the short time that we have is giving them a [structure] where they can then be creative with setting up attacks, getting the ball down the back, and trying to keep possession of the ball.”
Dye says that working on stamina will not be their principal concern as most of the players are coming into the season from club soccer.
Although details have yet to unfold this season, they have made it clear that they are looking forward to their rematch against the Lady Knights and a chance to win back the Flea Cup title.
Last season’s contest proved to be a close match with the Lady Knights ultimately winning, 1-0. “We didn’t put a lot of pressure on [the shooter] as she scored from somewhat far out,” explains senior Erica Martinez.
Despite the loss against Carlmont in their scrimmage on Nov. 24, the contest represented a chance for all the players to prove themselves on the field.
“Our coach was not worried about the score,” says Martinez. “It was time for us to show him as individuals what we have to offer to the game.”
The Lady Dons are on the road on Saturday, Dec. 12 against Terra Nova as they continue to get through the preseason matchups.
Boys ready for competitive season in Bay division
Last season, the boys soccer team finished second place in the Ocean division, allowing them to move up to the Bay division the subsequent season.
“This year, we have dynamic players that enjoy working together on as much as they do being individually creative,” says head coach Greg Markoulakis. “We are also locking in on addressing more individual [such as] technical, tactical, and fitness, and addressing those in smaller groups in order to morph into different systems of play more seamlessly.”
During team conditioning in particular, physical fitness was a strong point of emphasis.
Senior midfielder Michael Lanthier agrees, saying how “[our coach] is focusing this year even more on fitness to ensure that we prepared for the physical demands of the season.”
Going into the season, the team is excited for their second consecutive season playing in the more competitive Bay division.
“This season is going to be extremely exciting,” says Lanthier “Last season, being able to advance from the Ocean division to the Bay division will allow us to compete against some tougher opponents this year.” The past few years, the team alternated between Ocean and Bay; but, this year, the Dons hope to break that pattern and keep the team competing in Bay.
Even though the team lost some seniors to graduation, the team find themselves more mature, grounded, and in-control this upcoming season as they mature technically. “The juniors this year have stepped up and we even have some sophomores who will make great additions to the team. Each team is different,” says senior goalkeeper Nick Hom. “This year, we have some great kids moving up that will be just as, if not more effective than some of the seniors last year.”
The team will play their fourth match of the season against Milpitas on the road on Friday, Dec. 11.