Girls varsity soccer wins first game of season

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Rebeca Sanchez Solana dribbles the ball down the field as senior Alya Mehrtash signals that she is open. “Leading up to the game I felt very nervous, but I think once we got on the pitch, once we started making all of those connections, I started to feel a lot more comfortable. Everyone was playing really calm, really connected. We were making great moves and great passes,” Mehrtash said. Photo by Eva Levin

Eva Levin Copy Editor

Kate Kotlyar Staff Writer

Girls varsity soccer won their first league game of the season 11-0 against Inglewood High School on April 7. The game was the team’s second in-person game since the COVID-19 pandemic began. 

Within the first two minutes of the game, the score was 2-0 with Beverly in the lead. The first goal was made by sophomore Katrina Chong, with an assist by senior co-captain Esther Goldberg. By the end of the first half, the score was 9-0. In the second half, Beverly scored two goals, the 10th and 11th goals. Sophomore Danielle Hollander scored five goals, which is the most goals made by a player on the team.

COVID-19 cut the 2020 soccer season short, leaving the team with Zoom practices and virtual bonding for over a year. Sports resumed practices starting Oct. 24, which meant that the team only had a few weeks to condition and prepare for a full season. Normally, the team would have done months of conditioning along with five or six non-league scrimmages. Senior team co-captain Alya Mehrtash thought jumping right into the season after three weeks of practice was a “daunting” task.

“It was definitely a big change. It was scary,” Mehrtash said. 

Goldberg agreed, calling the process “intense” and “tough.” Even with this season’s specific obstacles, Goldberg is confident in her team’s ability to “just take it game by game.”

Lack of practice aside, the team effectively showed off their skills during the shut-out game.

“11-0 is a little excessive, but it’s a good start to the season,” junior Mimi Kessler said. “[We just want to] power through and win league this year.”

The game’s high score allowed for some relaxed placement, which put senior Nahal Sarafian front and center during the last quarter. Coach Ryan Franks chose to place Sarafian, a goalkeeper, as forward striker for a few minutes in the last quarter. In her five or so minutes of field time, she scored the 11th goal of the game.

“It was an amazing feeling because, as a goalie, I rarely get the opportunity to play in different positions and get anywhere near scoring,” Sarafian said about her first goal of the season. 

Even though this game resulted in a win, Franks used the opportunity of an in-person game to see where his team could improve. He explains a lack of an “open” practicing space for the majority of his players forced them to focus on skillwork instead of cardio and stamina.

“So now, with all this open space, I think we’re all trying to get our wind and get our conditioning back. I saw a little bit of that today, even though we did 11-0. But, you can see that we’re still working on our conditioning. So, I think getting the conditioning and game shape and the fitness will be the thing that we need to continue to work on,” Franks said.

Kessler and Sarafian both believe their team needs to work on communicating during games, whereas Mehrtash cites a completely different skill that needs some work.

“I do think that we could have played better towards the end of the first half. We started to get too comfortable and so we weren’t making as many passes,” Mehrtash said. “Overall though, I’m really proud of the way the team performed.”

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