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The Paw Print

A culture of winning: Poly girls soccer Soccer

Phoebe Cho

As the final whistle blew, the Poly girls soccer season drew to a close with a hard-fought 2-2 draw against the Westridge Tigers on Wednesday, Jan. 31. In this bittersweet moment for players, coaches and family, the team finished fourth in Prep league with an 8-5-2 record.

Junior Catie Sabbag said, “We started off the season very strong, with a secure second place in the league, and it was disappointing to all of us to watch our success decrease towards the end. But that being said, both our wins and our losses brought us closer together.”

The team’s most memorable game was their 2-1 victory against Mayfield Senior on Friday, Jan. 12. It marked a special moment as no Poly team member had ever defeated the Cubs. However, they later lost 2-1 to Mayfield in a rematch on Monday, Jan. 29.

This year, the Panthers had a large varsity roster, filled with many freshmen. They scheduled JV games to allow players who didn’t get a lot of varsity playing time to strengthen their skills. Because of their size and wide grade distribution, the Panthers forged strong inter-grade connections. The team’s strong chemistry also derived from multiple activities planned off the field, including a sleepover, pie making party and horror film screening.

Senior Siena Jurgensen explained how the team’s strong chemistry helped them: “This year, I think our biggest strength as a team was our strong bond on and off the field. I felt this group was especially close compared to past years, and I think our playing improved because of it.”

Going into next season, the players want to improve their defensive and ball control skills in order to protect their goal better while scoring more with greater ease.

Junior Mariana Gomez stated, “This season we had some really good goals and great defensive tackles. Next year our attacking line is pretty set, but we unfortunately are losing seniors that are key players in our defensive game. I am confident that those filling in for their roles will do a great job, but we will have to work hard to rebuild our chemistry with a new set of players in the back line.”

The players also hope next year’s team can recover as they lose seniors like Bianca Howitt, who will play Division 1 soccer at Colgate University next year. Not only were the seniors key to the team’s defensive and attacking skills, but they were also invaluable to the team’s upbeat energy. Seniors Cyanne Jones and Irina Alsoufiev joined the soccer team for the first time this year, helping shake up the team dynamic.

As the seniors hang up their soccer jerseys for the final time, they carry a sense of pride in their achievements and the wisdom they’ve learned from and given to teammates and coaches alike.

Head Coach Heidi Strauss commented, “While I’m sad to be graduating this talented senior class, I’m excited for the future of the team, there’s a lot of potential and I look forward to the rising freshman joining the returning players.”

Although the season did not end with the playoff run the team had hoped for, the Poly varsity girls soccer team certainly grew as a result of their strong chemistry and hard work. Next season, despite losing key seniors, the team will be filled with multiple underclassmen with potential to guide the team to success.

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Peter Panossian, Student Contributor
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