After an extended stretch of quarantine and lock-downs it seems as though both the varsity soccer teams are more than ready for opportunities to win. With fans finally back in the stands, and students in the school as well, circumstances are finally starting to feel familiar again. As the Pioneers seventh league game comes up this upcoming Tuesday, there is a great anticipation that comes with it.
“I think we’re doing pretty good. I think we’re a lot better than our teams have been in previous years, so I’m excited to see what the future holds,” senior Spencer Broztek said.
The boys and girls varsity teams played Gresham High School on the Oct. 11. The boys lost 1-0, while the girls won 5-1. The teams have more games on Tuesday, Oct. 19. The girls will head over to Delta Park where they will play Central Catholic at 6:15 p.m., while the boys will play at home at 7 p.m. This is an influential game for the Pioneers, as it nears the end of their soccer season.
Some athletes had taken a step back from their sports due to the urgency revolving around the pandemic at the time, or other reasons stemming from changes in our ways of normalcy. For many of these players, every game is a game of redemption.
“I made varsity as a freshman and I worked so hard to get to the place that I am now,” freshman Dahlia Kappers said. “The whole team is very supportive of me.”
Similar to many other athletes, Kappers was able to continue playing soccer throughout the pandemic through a club team. Some of the athletes, however, were not able to continue playing their sports on a team when we were facing Covid-19 last year.
“I wasn’t able to play for the first few months of the lock down but during that time my club coach hosted Zoom practices, where we were able to keep up with our technical skills,” junior Hayden Leymaster said.
Despite the distances, the varsity soccer teams are closer than ever this year. The bonds that the athletes have are visible from the stands. Not only have many of these players played together for years, but everybody is eager to play as a team. The boys team took a varsity retreat prior to the season.
“We went on a varsity retreat and we hiked nine miles! That was pretty fun!” Broztek reminisced.
“Hiking with the team was very impactful and helped us grow as teammates,” senior Isaac Ginther said.
Just like the boys team, the girls have a substantial bond as well.
“My favorite memory from this season so far has to be from our game against Bend. Before the game was about to start it was raining really hard, and then it started to storm, forcing us to exit the field and wait 30 minutes before going back on. While we were waiting we had music playing and we were all singing and dancing along in the bleachers, everyone was having a good time together,” Leymaster said.
Soccer already holds value for these athletes, but having a connection with the team positively intensifies the experience of high school soccer.
“Each and every girl on my team has a heart, through tough games, in our worst nights, we are always keeping a shoulder to lean on despite our differences,” senior Jess Nava said.
Seniors on the soccer teams have a lot on the line as well, for some this is the last time that they will play on a competitive soccer team.
“Being a senior, some of these activities or events will be my last. With that in mind, trying to balance life and school makes my games all the worthier to play in,” Nava said.
The Pioneers are elated to be back with their teams again. They have another chance to show their team chemistry and be united together as they compete against Central Catholic Tuesday night.