Soccer looks to rebound from tough season

Joe Pariano ’23 clears the ball ahead on September 29, 2021 vs. The Hill School – Communications

Since starting their season in August, the soccer team has dealt with a lot: players have left the team to join clubs, key players have gotten injured, and overall, the season has gone differently than players predicted. Sixth Form Captain Torin McClave reflected on their expectations. 

“I definitely thought we were going to have a very successful season coming out of summer,” McClave said. “We had an amazing starting lineup with minimal injuries.”

McClave does not believe the losses were an issue with talent, rather a couple of other reasons. 

“What I’ve noticed is that we gave SCH and GA [the teams with the best league records] a harder fight than PC and Malvern. In the Inter-Ac, it’s mostly mental,” McClave said. “I believe injuries hurt us this year, but we have gotten beaten mentally rather than physically.” 

Despite losing a number of starters throughout the season, the team has displayed determination. They have managed to walk away with a couple Inter-Ac wins, but more importantly, each game has been a dog fight until the last second. This season, the Inter-Ac has been competitive: not a single team has fewer than two losses. 

Sixth Former Jack Masse knows the team’s talent is comparable with the rest of the league.

“Practically every Inter-Ac game we have played this season was a one-goal game, which just shows the competitiveness of the league,” Masse said. 

Despite a generally disappointing fall, the soccer team’s season is not over. Over the next couple of weeks, they will compete in the PAISAA State Tournament as well as in EA Day. In preparation, the team needs to go back to basics. 

Sixth Form Captain Sam Tryon said, “I think we just need to focus on balancing having fun playing the sport and playing as a team. When we find that balance, we’re very competitive with any team.”

Sam Tryon ’22 strikes the ball on September 29, 2021 vs. The Hill School – Communications

The Haverford School first played EA on October 19, losing the match 2-1. Although that may seem like it was recent, a lot has changed since, as the team picked up a big win against Penn Charter and tied first place SCH. Masse knows they’re a different team since losing in October.

“EA narrowly beat us earlier this season, but we will definitely demand a great performance from them if we play with the same passion and grit that we displayed against SCHA and PC,” Masse said. 

Sixth Form Captain Will Kendall feels the same way. Win or lose, he knows the second game against EA Day will go differently. A lot of what the team is doing at practice is in preparation for EA Day.

“Right now, we are preparing for a state title run, but of course we are heavily focused on EA Day. We’re working on a lot of finishing and tackling in order to come in stronger against EA,” Kendall said. “The energy is high and the team feels connected. Regardless of what has happened this season, we are getting ready to finish the season strong. With a few more wins to our name and better team chemistry, we are a much different team. If we play two-touch soccer and move the ball quickly, EA will become discombobulated. I feel if the confidence is high and we fight for everything, we could come out with a win.”

The team is ready to forget all of the adversity they’ve faced throughout the season. At this point, they know they cannot change anything. Sixth Former Temesghen Irgau reflected on what he wants to see as they wrap up their season. 

“We have to put all that has happened to us in this season aside. Right now, our wins and losses thus far mean nothing; all of our focus needs to be directed towards beating EA,” Irgau said. “Above all, we need to have confidence in ourselves and our teammates.”

“It’s all about being on the same page and going out there with a confident and positive mindset.”

Sam Tryon ’22

Due to the pandemic’s cancellation of EA Day in 2020, most of the players on the team have never experienced competing on EA Day. A competition much different from ordinary games, the team had November 13 circled on their calendar since August. The energy at practice has been extraordinarily high, and the team plans to use that energy to come out strong against EA. 

Tryon understands the effect of EA Day and knows the team will use it to their advantage. 

“The atmosphere that comes with EA Day will definitely help us, and I’m very excited to have the opportunity to play on EA Day at Haverford as a senior,” Tryon said. “We know what we need to fix from the last game we played against them, so it’s all about being on the same page and going out there with a confident and positive mindset.”

Author: Jake LaRocca '22

Sports editor Jake LaRocca has written for The Index since 2018. His articles "Water Polo led by junior Olympians" earned a Silver Key from the 2020 Philadelphia-Area Scholastic Writing competition.