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Girls' Soccer Team Anticipates Their First Match Following Tryouts and Schedule Changes

Senior Madeline Sellars faces off against an opposing team last season. (Courtesy Photo)

By Hayley Rea--Eagle Assistant Editor

As spring sports teams find their groove in the new season, the girls’ soccer team is practicing to take the field, including their new additions from recent tryouts.

“We had 27 girls attend girls' soccer tryouts. All the players who tried out for girls' soccer either made the JV or Varsity team,” Maryann Castaneda-Hodges, the girls’ soccer coach, explained.

The tryouts yielded a big success for the girls, according to some of the current teammates.

“Tryouts were pretty good. We ran our 1 ½ mile and worked on ball touches and passes. Everyone did their best out there those days,” junior Melody Castaneda-Gonzalez, a teammate, commented.

The team was scheduled to participate in a scrimmage against Bassett on Tuesday, April 20th; however, the match was cancelled.

“The first scrimmage was canceled due to Bassett not having enough players to field a team. I know that there are other schools in the surrounding area that are hurting to get enough players for their teams,” Castaneda-Hodges replied.

But, the schedule changes didn't stop there. The girls had two games planned for this week: one on Tuesday, April 27 against William Fleming and another on Thursday, April 29 against Northside. Both were either cancelled or rescheduled.

"Many of the cancellations and changes to athletic schedules are due to low numbers of student participation in all sports, especially the JV level of competition. Athletic Directors are trying desperately to move games to save the JV programs," Crystal Worley, athletic director, elaborated about the schedule.

Naturally, the cancellation of the first scrimmage caused some disappointment for the girls.

“We were kinda upset we didn’t get to play that day because we really wanted to play and get back on it and try our best. [I’m] hoping that most schools have enough players and are doing fine so we can play our games,” Castaneda-Gonzalez expressed.

Further changes to the schedule have only added to these negative feelings, for both players and coaches, but there could still be some light at the end of the tunnel.

"[We] are getting a little frustrated about [the cancellations]. But we know that we will play at least two games next week against William Byrd. I think [the team is] still glad to be together after school," Castaneda-Hodges commented.

Our girls’ soccer team has faced similar challenges with team sizes, but not to the same extent as those of surroundings counties.

“Our team is a lot smaller this year due to less people trying out,” senior Madeline Sellars, a teammate, elaborated.

However, their coach has plans to bring on more girls to play in the near future to combat the team’s smaller size.

“The varsity roster is set at 16. Currently, the JV roster is set at 12 but two more girls plan to try out next week. So we expect the JV team to have a higher number soon,” Castaneda-Hodges explained. “It is encouraging that we have enough girls interested to have both a JV and Varsity team.”

As practices continue, there have been a few struggles with team coordination and communication.

“Some weaknesses would be our passes. We aren’t quite where we want [to be] with passes, but we are really working with that,” Castaneda-Gonzalez commented.

Even with these difficulties, the girls are persevering and finding power in their new teammates.

“Our strengths consist of having a lot of younger girls, so the ambition to prove themselves is definitely there,” Sellars described the team’s additions from tryouts.

As the team works together through practices and strives for excellence, they find new things to work on to help improve their abilities.

“The varsity team has shown several strengths so far. They communicate and problem solve well. Overall the team is good at moving the ball into open areas of the field and they are solid defenders as a unit,” Castaneda-Hodges explained. “We are still working on our first touch as a unit. We also are working on not forcing the ball into an area just because we want to score but rather maintaining possession of the ball and looking for the next opportunity to go to goal.”

The girls’ next game is scheduled to be Monday, May 3 at 5:30pm against William Fleming. Following the cancellation of the first scrimmage match and other games, the rest of the season is uncertain, but the team is staying positive.

“I honestly don’t know how the season will go. We are all just being optimistic and hoping for something near a normal season,” Sellars replied hopefully.

Overall, the girls’ soccer team is making the best of their spring season as they build on their athletic abilities.

“Right now, the team is great. We try our best to work together and get to know each other a little better. It is fun working with all the girls on the team,” Castaneda-Gonzalez concluded.

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