Wilcox Soccer Shows Significant Progress
By: Andrew Bensch
Senior night for the Wilcox girls soccer team didn’t end with a victory, but their progress this season from start to finish has been evident. A resurgent squad, the Chargers’ three wins thus far on the season have come in rematches against two teams who previously beat them and a third team who stole a win away with two late goals to force a tie. One of those wins came against Lynbrook by a 2-0 score after the Vikings had beaten the Chargers 5-0 earlier in the season. Wilcox senior captains Darcie Massey and Paige Jones both brought up the win over Lynbrook as a defining moment.
“The win against Lynbrook was the best because they’re in third place in league right now,” noted Jones. “They are really solid, they tied [Gunn]–the best team in our league. That win was probably one of the best we have ever experienced.”
“At that time, I really felt like, ‘wow you see guys, we can do it,’ it really just depends if our mindset is in it or not,” added Massey. “It’s awesome for other teams to see that we could do it.”
So what went wrong in the first matchups?
“The first time we play teams, we get a bit chaotic,” recalled Jones. “If we have one breakdown, if they score, I think it really affected our team mentally. But as the season went on and we got to play them a second time, I think we figured out how to recover as a team from that.”
“When we are on our game we do well, but when we aren’t mentally in the game, we lose it,” responded Massey. “We come back and beat those same teams, soccer has so much to do with your mindset.”
First year varsity Head Coach Luis Lujan agreed with his senior leaders that quality progress has been made as they head into the last game of the season against league leading Gunn on Thursday.
“We were not satisfied with those [early] results. Our players, there was a fire inside them. When the stars align and the girls know what needs to get done. We just continue to play our game and we get the result we want because we grind it out instead of forcing it. That was the difference from the first leg of the season to the second.”
Coach Lujan appreciates the effort his senior captains put into this season, even dating back to voluntary conditioning during the offseason.
“It started before the season,” noted the coach. “We did voluntary conditioning and Paige and Darcie always attended, were the first to arrive and last to leave. The leadership everyday in practice, through their actions more than just their words. Character and presence on and off the field.”
After four years playing varsity together, Massey and Jones will probably end up at different colleges next season. Both demonstrated maturity by indicating college preferences are about academics and the right experience over just attending for soccer.
Massey and Jones leave Wilcox having improved their league record each and every season. They now pass the torch onto juniors Valerie Valdivia and Sammie Discher, the two Wilcox goal scorers in the 3-2 loss on senior night. Perhaps Massey and Jones will each get a goal for the road as they cap off their high school careers in the season finale.