After losing six consecutive games prior to Districts, it may come as surprise to some that men’s soccer was not only able to win its next five games but also compete for a State title.
According to players, this turnaround was possible because of the change in attitudes the players and coaches had towards the team and sport.“I remember we had a team meeting, and I asked the kids, ‘Do you remember how you felt about our team on Aug. 10?’ That was [our first team meeting.] I said, ‘How did you feel about the team then?’ One [player] said [that he] thought we were going to be great, there was no limit to what we [could] achieve. I said, ‘Look around the classroom; are all the same players here? Is this the same coach here? What’s really changed,’” head coach Tim Cashel said.
On the turnaround, junior Preston Haney said, “We took a look at ourselves as a team and as individuals and realized that the athletic ability and skill is there and where it needs to be, but our mentality needs to change.”
“We forgot about the previous games and started over. It was day one again, and we came into playoffs with just as much excitement and belief in ourselves as when the season began,” senior Andrew Harper said.
Unfortunately, at the State game Webster lost to Fort Zumwalt South 1-2, but not without putting up a fight first. The team scored its only goal with 34 seconds left on the clock.
“We never gave up and were resilient and that goal we scored, even though it was too late, showed that,” senior Mason Schultz said.
“[The goal] was a reflection of what had gotten us to the championship, which was ‘I don’t care how bad it looks we are going to keep working.’ We kept working and stayed positive and ended up in the State final. Scoring that last goal, to me, was symbolic of the fight that our team has and that’s why we were there,” Cashel said.
Although the team may have not won a State title, the players were able to win in other aspects.
“Reflecting on the season, I don’t have any regrets. I wouldn’t change a thing. Through the highs and the lows, there is nowhere I’d rather be than with my team,” Harper said.
A few players expressed the development of camaraderie throughout the season.
According to Schultz, “The team connected so well throughout the season, and the friends we [had] in
August became family [by] November. Even when we were struggling, we stuck together and enjoyed every minute of the season. Losing the last game of the season wasn’t the perfect ending, but seeing all of the support we had from the whole community was indescribable.”
“Being a part of a team doesn’t just mean you practice and play with other members. Being a part of a team is about being a family. Families love and sacrifice for each other, and that’s exactly what we did. Sure we are a team, but I know everyone sees it as something more,” Harper said.
“What makes high school soccer special is that you get to play with your friends that you have known since you were five or even younger and you are playing for the fans at school, the community, and the name of the school,” Haney said.
Cashel felt this season was unique because, “It was one of the most rewarding seasons for me as a coach because we took what was impossible and made it possible and that was because of the trust the kids had in us… it takes a little while after you lose the last game to have an appreciation about what was so good about it, because, in the end, we didn’t accomplish the ultimate objective, but in reality, maybe we accomplished something more.”
This will be Evelyn Trampe’s second year on ECHO staff, but she made several contributions while taking journalism class her sophomore year. She is also a member of Quill and Scroll.
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