Girls’ soccer shoots for championship title

Srinidhi Seshadri

Determination to win is written on the girls’ faces as they dribble the ball down the field, deftly passing to one another as they approach the goal. With a swift kick, the ball sails into the goal, slightly brushing the goalie’s fingertips. The crowd bursts into cheers, signifying another win for the Lynbrook girls varsity soccer team.

With most of the previous team’s upperclassmen graduating, the current team comprises of more underclassmen than usual. As a result, four freshmen were accepted onto the varsity team this year, as opposed to the usual one or two.

“As a freshman on varsity last year, I definitely felt really intimidated at first, but all the upperclassmen were really welcoming and nice to me and the other freshmen,” said sophomore Shubra Dubey. “I will definitely try to include the freshmen as much as possible and guide them through and help them not feel intimidated.”

With an increase in the number of newer players on the team, however, comes the challenge of ensuring everyone is on the same page during games. Since the girls have only been playing together for a few weeks, they found it difficult to synchronise each of their playing techniques.

“A lot of people on varsity play for a club and clubs have coaches that think so differently from other coaches,” said freshman Danielle Ma. “One club team may be defense-based and another may be offense- based so being on the same page might be hard for us.”

Another obstacle the team faces is their lack of a keeper. The position has been empty for the past couple years and has cost the team close games in the previous season. The team aims to strengthen their defensive line in order to keep the ball away from the goal.

The team practices every weekday from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., with most games held on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Practices usually begin with a lap around the field followed by warm-up exercises often led by the captains, seniors Rachel Tatley and Emma Chase. These exercises are followed by a set of drills conducted by Tatley and Chase and are overseen by the coach, Art Zimmerman. The captains make sure to include exercises the coach would like them to work on into their drills,  such as high intensity sprinting drills called suicides. These require athletes to run their fastest to marked distances in order to improve strength, cardio and endurance.

“It’s a cooperative effort between the coach and the captains to help the team,” said Tatley. “Since I’ve been playing for a while, I’ve learned a lot of exercises and drills and I’m also able to bring in my own ideas that I think will help improve the players.”

As a team sport, soccer requires extensive cooperation between players so that plays are executed smoothly. Grudges among teammates jeopardize teamwork during important plays. The girls’ interactions off the field are important for smooth plays and coordination among players on the field.

The Lynbrook team builds their team spirit through team bonding events such as sleepovers and pasta parties that they have the evening before most of their home games.

“We hang out, have dinner together and build up on the carbs right before the game,” said Tatley. “Sports are supposed to be fun and not always competitive even though competition is a really big aspect.”

In addition to getting to know each other better and strengthening their bond, the girls hope to strengthen their playing skills and tactics in order to play at Central Coast Section (CCS).

“In the history of the Vikings, we’ve never been to CCS,” said Zimmerman. “We were half a point away from going last year. There’s a lot of talent on the team, so if we can all get on the same page and work in the system I think we’ll do great.”

Despite experiencing a loss of senior players resulting in a more inexperienced team, the girls will stick together and support one another through any obstacles. By working hard at practices, they will be closer to achieving their goal of becoming stronger players on the field while having fun and strengthening their team spirit.