Wilcox Starters Play Entire Match in Win Over Lynbrook

By Andrew Bensch

“Honestly, I’m not going to lie, I did not think it was going to be a good game,” admitted senior captain and midfielder Sammie Discher after her Wilcox Chargers knocked off the Lynbrook Vikings, 3-0. “We had only 11 players. We have 20 on our roster, but with winter break some people are out of town and we have three or four injuries too.”

Despite being short handed, the Chargers put forth a strong effort from start to finish. Senior forward Valerie Valdivia scored on a nice shot from straight away at about 20-yards out in the 16th minute. The 1-0 score would hold for the majority of the game until junior Maya Epps gave the Chargers a late insurance tally in the 74th minute. Epps’ shot was a beautifully arced strike from about 25-yards out that floated from right to left and eventually into the far-side, top corner. In the 77th minute Discher would add extra insurance, capping the scoring with a well-struck shot from about 23-yards away.

“One of our focus points going into this one was to stay composed from the first minute through the last,” noted Chargers Head Coach Luis Lujan. “Our last match we woke up late and we were not organized, but today we were organized and there was a sense of calmness. We were playing to feet, connecting well with our passes and everything flowed from there.”

With the victory the Chargers improve to 6-2-2 overall and 1-1 in league. Wilcox is attempting to carry over their late-season success from a year ago. Last season they started out slow, but got better and better as the season went along. To continue that progression, Wilcox will have to fill the shoes of two critical senior captains who graduated last year in Paige Jones and Darcie Massey. Thus far, the senior trio of Discher, Valdivia and center back Lindsey Arenson seem to be doing extremely well with their additional leadership responsibilities as captains.

“The leadership aspect is definitely something the three of us have to be conscious of throughout the season,” noted Discher. “Valerie was also a captain last year, but for Lindsey and I as captains now, we’ve had to help take on the responsibility that Darcie and Paige had last year. That responsibility has forced us to become more well-rounded players and not just worried about our own personal improvement, but our team improvement as a whole.”

Lindsey is the quieter one out of the trio, but she makes up for that with her presence on defense,” remarked coach Lujan. “She has an amazing ability to play that center-back position. Sammie in the middle will play box to box, she will drop back to win balls. She will cover 60-80 yards and is strong with the one-two passing. Valerie up top is more of a traditional lone striker. She knows when to take on opponents one-on-one, but also knows when to hold off and wait for help to arrive. All three of them help provide that calming influence.”

The Chargers’ league schedule continues when they play host to Fremont on Jan. 10 and then at Milpitas on Jan. 12.