COVID strikes, but boys soccer rallies


COVID strikes, but it does not do the damage one expects. The boys soccer team, after a shaky start to the season, was hit with devastating news: someone on the team had tested positive.

This meant that everyone on the Varsity and JVA team had to quarantine because of close contact with the player. Meanwhile, JVB practices and games were cancelled even though they were not required to quarantine.

Leading up to the two week isolation period, the team was not performing to their highest potential, which was a consensus between many varsity players.

“I felt we were underperforming,” senior captain and forward Sam Bosworth said. “We were tying a lot of teams that we should have beat.”

Before entering quarantine, the boys varsity team posted a 2-2-3 record, beating Stow and Louisville and tying Perry, Wooster and St. Vincent St. Mary’s.

With quarantine topping the already shaky start, there was much worry among players on whether or not the team could get back into a good form when they resumed play.

“I was worried that playing three games a week for three weeks would put a physical strain on the players,” Bosworth said. “I was also worried that some players would be out of shape, but as we came back it didn’t seem that way.”

Another big worry was whether or not players were working on their touch and fitness while they were at home.

“[My biggest worry was] that people didn’t do stuff on their own,” senior captain and midfielder Sebastian Melendez said. “It seemed like everyone got some touches in so it worked out.”

The team faced an upcoming nine game stretch in three weeks, something that required a heavy amount of hard work. However, the boys team was able to overcome that adversity.

“After [quarantine], I feel like everyone was eager to get back on the field and it showed with a 3-0 start on our return,” Melendez said.

The boys team put together an impressive string of performances, starting their first five games back with shutouts (four wins and one tie). After a couple of losses, the boys team ended their regular season on a two game win streak.

“I think we were a better team after quarantine,” Bosworth said. “We seemed to have better and more consistent results. We won the games we were supposed to.”

The boys team provided a high level of success; the main secret to this success: team chemistry. Multiple players on the team have spoken about the great environment the players have to work with.

“[Our biggest strength is] our chemistry on and off the field,” Melendez said. “Everyone gets along and it’s always a good environment during practices and games.”

This chemistry leads to a significantly strong team environment, where work on and off the field flows as a team.

“I think our biggest strength is that we work really hard as a team,” Bosworth said.

These strengths, along with a sense of rejuvenation, led the boys to a 5-3-1 record down the stretch. They finished with a 7-5-4 record at the end of the regular season. Additionally, the JV team was able to rally to a winning record, finishing 7-6-3.

The boys are faced with a tough playoff stretch, starting off against Nordonia and facing Chagrin Falls afterwards, with a win against Nordonia. Chagrin is an especially tough opponent, boasting a six seed in the playoff bracket.

However, along with the momentum, the players have found some areas to work on that will be key to success in a deep playoff run.

“Our willingness to play one-touch soccer could always improve,” Melendez said. “We have spurts of it in games but if we put it together for a full 80 [minutes], I think we could make a solid run.”

The other key to success will be confidence. Bosworth elaborates on how confidence will help the team make a deep playoff run.

“I think we need to be confident with ourselves,” Bosworth said. “We have the ability to play well with high level teams, we just have to come out on the field and show it.”

Although adversity has faced the boys team in multiple forms this year, they have been able to recover and perform at a high level. With a game against Nordonia on a quick turnaround from their nine game stretch, the boys team still looks poised and energized to make a deep playoff run.