November 14, 2014
The third time just wasn’t the charm for the girls soccer team. After two consecutive state final appearances, the bar was set high. The Comets, however, fell just short in the state semifinal round, losing 1-0 to Dublin Coffman. But according to senior Emily Calvani, the closeness of this year’s team made this season one to remember, despite the end result.
“We expected to be good but we tried not to expect anything because we wanted to focus on the moment,” Calvani said. “Our unfinished business was originally aimed toward winning state but I think it kind of changed meaning toward the end of the season. We were always known as the team that fought and had all the drama and I think we finally closed that chapter and became close by the end of the season.”
Head coach Andy Schur said this year’s team seemed to take the pressure from past success in stride as the season continued.
“They compartmentalized things and we all knew it was out there, we weren’t shy to mention it but we didn’t dwell on it,” Schur said. “I don’t think it hindered our play.”
According to senior Jamila Sylvester, the added expectation pushed her team to perform well.
“I think (the pressure) made us want to work even harder, especially all postseason,” Sylvester said. “(State) was our underlying goal. Last year was more of an underdog thing and proving people wrong, and this year was more about proving ourselves right.”
With 14 seniors on this season’s roster, Calvani said there was no shortage of strong personalities on the team, which created problems early on.
“At the beginning, we kind of clashed,” Calvani said. “It was really hard to get everybody to want the same things. But toward the end of the season we had some people step up and take on roles as leaders for the team. Eventually everyone just kind of meshed and it worked well. Toward the end everybody really gained respect for each other that we didn’t initially have.”
Sylvester said that clicking off the field translated into better on-field chemistry for her team, especially during the postseason games.
“When we didn’t have team chemistry, it was obvious,” Sylvester said. “You have to have communication and your teammates have to have your back. When there’s not good team chemistry, you can tell.”
According to Schur, there was a noticeable difference in his team’s togetherness as the season progressed.
“Some of that success on the field lends itself to having some chemistry to start to come together,” Schur said. “We just try to help guide them along the way to help them in understanding what’s important in life and what isn’t. I think once they figured that out, they realized the journey they were on was a lot more fun if they did it together.”
Calvani said that although they reached the majority of their goals, falling short of a trip to the state championship made it hard to appreciate their postseason success.
“I think because we’ve gotten (to state) the past three years, it didn’t seem like that big of a deal to us,” Calvani said. “We kind of took it for granted and we didn’t appreciate that we were in the state semifinals. Our goal was to make it to state and we didn’t do that, so that makes it harder, but as a team we definitely grew closer and built friendships that you can’t replace.”
According to Schur, the girls don’t fully understand the magnitude of their achievements yet.
“I don’t know if they’ll understand what they’ve accomplished until years from now, but I hope they appreciate what they’ve done because I don’t think many teams have been to state final four in three consecutive years,” Schur said. “It’s just really hard to do. I hope eventually they see that they’ve set some records.”