Soccer Overcomes Losses to Score Big
The DA men’s soccer team finished with a winning record, earning a trip to the state tournament with the seventh seed while defeating teams they had not beaten in several years.
Completing the season with a record of 8-6-1 and a 4-4 record in the Triangle Independent Schools Athletic Conference (TISAC), the Cavaliers were one of two teams in the TISAC to qualify for the state tournament.
Though the team lost in the first round of the NCISAA tournament against Charlotte Christian School in penalty kicks, senior captain Stillman Hanson and sophomore Wilson Stringer still felt that the season was successful.
“I feel the season went very well for the team,” Hanson said. “Some of the highlights were beating Greensboro Day, Cary Academy, and Ravenscroft away because in my three years on the team, I had never defeated these teams.” Stringer added, “I feel the season went well because we finished top four in our conference. The chemistry between players was fantastic.”
The players felt that the season went well, but the team faced much adversity along the way. Late in the regular season, the team dropped two crucial games to TISAC opponents with a goal differential of two goals total. However, Stringer felt that the losses helped improve the team: “These two losses only made us stronger as a team, which led us to two big wins in a row.”
Hanson described the injury of junior starter Kenan Ulku-Steiner as a “big blow to the team,” but said that sophomores Nick Epstein and Fred Chang “stepped up” when he got hurt. Hanson also noted the impact of many other players such as junior Carter Owen, sophomore Roberto Escobar, and especially senior captain, Matt Tucker. Overall, he was very proud of the whole team “for stepping up in positions they may not have thought they would have been put in.”
The players felt this year’s team was very special. Though traditions such as senior Seth Pruitt’s “pep talks” to drinking Maple View chocolate milk after the games will always be memorable for the team members, “it is hard to pinpoint what made the team special,” said Hanson.
The players and coaches emphasized doing everything together as a team, and this mindset resulted in a very successful season for the Cavaliers.
“I think what really made the team the best it could be was that we did not rely on any single player to carry us,” said Hanson. “I am glad to have been a part of DA soccer during my years here, and this was the most team-oriented season I have ever been a part of.”