Girls JV makes an exceptionally good start

Their JV status doesn’t keep this girl’s soccer team from blazing through their opponents.

Andrea+Ramirez%2C+8th+grader%2C+goes+in+for+a+kick+during+practice.+She+has+been+playing+soccer+for+4+years.+

Andrea Ramirez, 8th grader, goes in for a kick during practice. She has been playing soccer for 4 years.

Emilie Castillo , Arts & Entertainment Editor

The JV girls team stands in the bleachers making hearts with their hands. They have had an undefeated season so far.
The JV girls team stands in the bleachers making hearts with their hands. They have had an undefeated season so far.

In light of their current winning streak, a closer look into the girl’s JV soccer team was in order. Despite the team’s present success, coach, Rick Willard, says he has only three goals: have fun, learn something and come back next year.  

Their season started with a defeat over Luella shortly followed by a close tie with Locust Grove; after a long break they scored two-nothing against ELCA last Thursday night, Feb. 25. Tonight they faced Union Grove’s A JV team and won four to two. Thursday they’ll go up against their B team. So what has spurred on this trend of success?

It might just be that they’re meeting that first goal and having a great time, as both a team and individual players. Willard said, “I don’t care about wins or losses. We just care about having fun and pretty much from what I’ve seen, all smiles at the end of the game and I’ve done my job… they even say that they have fun at practice which is unheard of.” He went on to say that because of this the team has built a rapport and that sense of camaraderie that is so important to any team’s growth.  

The team itself is comprised of an interesting combination of eighth-graders, freshmen and juniors some who have been playing for several years and others who are entirely new to the sport. Despite this diversity, Courtney Sacramo, junior and newcomer to the sport, says she’s confident about the team’s future because she feels that they work really well together. She said, “Even if we don’t go undefeated the rest of the time I still feel that we’re going to try our best. We all just encourage each other.”

That encouragement and camaraderie have set a strong foundation for Willard’s second goal of learning something. For a JV team gaining practical knowledge is one of the basic purposes of the experience. However, for a team so spread out in age and expertise it’s obvious that different individuals are learning different things. Willard said, “I try to put the girls, the players, not in a position they like to play but in one they’re not comfortable with just so they can expand their horizons so to speak…” He talked about the great opportunity the program is for the eighth graders because it allows them to see what high school sports are about while also adding to the team with their own skill set. Willard also addressed the team members who have been playing at club level for several years saying, “I told them that what you, the club players, have to learn is not me teaching the skill but now you have to acclimate yourself to people who are not on your skill level… and they need to take that as a leadership role.”

Madison Hayes, freshman, is one of those players. Hayes has played soccer for almost 12 years and is one of the team’s three co-captains. She said that one of the most important things about being on a JV team is, “putting forth the effort to try new stuff and learn things.”

And, of course, the learning and skill building all goes towards the ultimate and last goal, that the players will return better prepared and continue to the varsity team. As only three of the 17 teammates are upperclassmen, there is a fair chance that these girls will fill varsity positions in the coming years. Not to count out the juniors, Sacramo said, “most definitely” when asked if she would try out again.

If their past games are any indicator of the future then this JV team is headed in the direction of an undefeated season. Even their tie with Locust Grove is a sign of their skill and tenacity; Willard said, “when we were down two to nothing at the half the girls just came together and said we know we’re better than this and they came back and tied the game.” And even after the break, Hayes said she felt comfortable coming back because they had held several practices throughout the week with and without Willard, and leading up to their Thursday game they were able to do some fitness training which she believed helped. She said the best part of the ELCA game was that “we were just taking shots one after the other, trying to get the ball, and going back on the defense.”

The picture is clear. Whether this team has an undefeated season or not the players have proven their skill and teamwork while also forging a few friendships in the process.