Nick Kay staff writer
The girls soccer team played their first CIF game after an undefeated season. However, their opposing team, Martin Luther King High School not only scored their first goal within two minutes of the start whistle, but also took the win with a final score of 0-4.
Going into the match, the seniors were prepared to fight in what would turn out to be the last game of their high school soccer career. Senior co-captain Alya Mehrtash saw the strength of the opposing team right off the bat.
“From kickoff you could tell they were a really strong team with a lot of speed. They took advantage of that because we weren’t ready for that and that is how they were able to get that first goal so quickly,” Mehrtash said.
“We collected ourselves and fought back super hard. We were doing a great job at connecting passes and through balls…just a lot of great plays and being super physical,” co-captain senior Sara Schwartz said.
Sophomore Alexa Kreshek, the goalie for the Normans made an “insane” save at the end of the first half. As the crowd began to sigh as they thought the ball would make it into the net, Kreshek made a “professional-like save” according to Schwartz in mid-air, hitting the ball with one hand and then curling up with the ball so the other team couldn’t steal it back.
As half time approached, the coaches made sure to give the Normans a pep talk to keep spirits and fight high.
“I think the way the team played during the end of the first half was one of the stronger periods during the whole game. The pep talk was really important in reminding us what we were doing correct and how to keep that going in the second half,” Mehrtash said. “The coaches really emphasized the meaning of the game and how we should play…One of our coaches said ‘Win or lose, you should be proud of what you put on the field.’”
The second half of the game unfortunately did not involve a goal scored by the Normans. However, all the captains agreed that they had an obligation to keep their players giving 100% until the end.
“As captains, we said we have 40 minutes to change this, 40 minutes left in our season. Lets do this,” Schwartz said.
With the opposing team shooting another three goals before closing out the game, it became the last game of the year that the Normans would play. Senior co-captain Maryann Han “didn’t really register that it was (her) last game” until the final whistle blew and the team began getting emotional.
“For me personally, this program has been one of the most crucial parts of my high school experience so it has been really sad to see that come to an end. But, considering all the obstacles we faced this year, especially, I am really proud of the team and everyone stepped up to make this happen. We worked hard when we were virtual as well as when we were able to return to in-person training and ultimately in person games. It has been a really long year, but I am really glad to have had this last season with this specific group of people and the incredible coaches because they definitely have helped me grow as a player and an individual,” Mehrtash said.