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Sports Preview: Girls' Soccer Team Prepares to Take the Field for Spring Season

The girls' Varsity soccer team groups together after a victory last season. (Courtesy Photo)

By Hayley Rea--Eagle Assistant Editor

As warmer weather starts to push its way in, so do spring sports, including the start of the girls’ soccer season.

“This season will begin with tryouts April 12th. We have a scrimmage against Bassett scheduled for April 20th,” Maryann Castaneda-Hodges, the girls’ soccer coach, explained.

Like most other sports this year, this season will be running on a different schedule due to the pandemic.

“[The season] will be a lot shorter so we will just have to work hard in the beginning and win early on,” senior Madeline Sellars, a Varsity teammate, explained.

However, they still have a good number of opponents to play under the circumstances.

“Our season will consist of 10 games played against the Roanoke schools that are in our district: William Fleming, Northside, William Byrd, Staunton River and Lord Botetourt. Matches will be held from late April to early June,” Castaneda-Hodges replied about the season schedule.

Besides the season being shorter, the girls also have to implement safety precautions during practices and games.

“We have to wear masks to practice and stay 6 feet apart from each other,” junior Melody Castaneda-Gonzalez, a teammate, explained.

Outside of the new precautions, the girls are looking forward to playing together again and having a more normal soccer schedule.

Teammate Madeline Sellars, senior, takes possession of the ball in a match from last season. (Courtesy Photo)

“I am definitely looking forward to this season since it will be my senior season. We didn’t really have a season last year so that will be different to actually have one,” Sellars said.

Despite the challenges presented by Covid, Castaneda-Hodges is positive that the team will be able to achieve their goals for this spring season.

“The program's long term goal is to win states. I think this season will be an excellent stepping stone in that direction. I am confident that the older players will be able to mentor the younger players. And I'm confident that the group joining varsity for the first time will benefit us. We lost a lot of highly skilled athletes when the class of 2020 graduated but I think we can overcome that and be stronger for it,” she commented about the team.

The class of 2020 has graduated and new players are being brought on in their place, but those remaining still think about them fondly.

“Last season, we had several seniors who I had been playing with since I was in 7th grade so it is very sad for me to not play with them for the first time. All my girls will be missed,” Sellars recalled.

Although every new season presents a fresh start for the team, Castaneda-Hodges also likes to look back at all the girls’ soccer team has accomplished in past seasons.

Senior Madeline Sellars faces off against her opponents in a game last season. (Courtesy Photo)

“We did very well in our two scrimmages last year and I would really like to showcase how competitive we are,” she reflected.

The girls’ first scrimmage match is just around the corner, so training takes top priority.

“We have conditioning [April 1st] from 3:40ish to 5:30,” Castaneda-Hodges replied.

Although sports have been fairly uncertain this school year, most are still optimistic about the start of the season and what it may hold for the team.

“[I’m] so glad that we are all back out there giving our best and making new friends. I hope this season turns out how we all want it to be,” Castaneda-Gonzalez concluded with a smile.

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