Varsity Soccer Looks to Power into the Playoffs

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This year’s varsity soccer team has shown the teamwork, skill, and determination to finish the season with more success than in previous years.

Before the season started, some players were unsure of how well they would play this year. The team has many talented individuals. The question, rather, was whether all this skill would come together and mesh into a team. After posting a 6-6-1 record thus far, little is left to wonder.

“I was not sure of our talent, but [the] Quincy [tournament] put things in perspective that we could hang with a really good team, and this is crucial for the Suburban South Conference, which has great teams such as: Webster Groves, Kirkwood, and Rockwood Summit,” junior Michael Kelly said.

Ladue thrived in Quincy with a record of 2-1, casting away all doubt. The lone loss that the team suffered was against one of the more talented teams in the area.

“The Quincy Tournament helped us ease into the season. We played great soccer and showed great determination playing three games in a span of 18 hours. The trip was probably the most fun I’ve had in a soccer tournament in years,” Kelly said.

Everyday the team works on their skills, practicing from 3-5 p.m. at Ladue Middle School. When the players arrive at the middle school field they first separate into varsity and junior varsity to warm up for 10 to 15 minutes. For the majority of practice, the JV and varsity teams separate and start to drill.

“We have many goals for our season, short and long term.  We talk about them, and work on things we need to work on so that we can achieve our goals,” Coach Matt Prange said.

One of the team’s long term goals for the year is to finish in the top half of their conference along with wining a few games in districts. One of the keys for the team to achieve its goals is an emphasis on cohesion and unity. To help keep the boys together the team looks to the seniors to lead them in the right direction.

“Our captains are Sam Stelzer, Alex Shimony, and Joe Lombard.  They do a nice job of leading us,” Prange said.

Despite the successes that the team has faced early on, the road is only bound to get tougher. The team’s mettle will be tested against tougher district opponents, and especially in the playoffs.

“We’re going to have many obstacles in reaching our goal, of getting into the top half of conference. Team chemistry is a necessity in reaching our goal, and staying healthy has been an issue so far. With a small roster we need to stay healthy to compete with the best teams in our conference,” Kelly said.

Although there are many challenges ahead, the team has not lost sight of the success they have had. Many younger team members are being groomed for future positions, and they’ve still tasted some big wins.

On Sept. 15, the team beat their arch-rival, Clayton. It was a close contest, with a final score of 1-0.

“That game was fun. It was very intense and you could not let your guard down. It was huge win for morale, and beating Clayton is always fun. It was a great win. Everybody worked their hardest in a game that really mattered. We were out shot but when we had our chances we took them and put them away,” Joe Lombard said.

The success has been met with other difficulties, as an ankle injury has sidelined senior Devin Gerstein. Senior Jake Weisman notes the role the younger players have taken in stepping up.

“We have 4 sophomores on the team- Patrick Sullivan, Eric Peterson, Daniel Israeli and Reid Cytron. [They] have fit in really well with the rest of the team, and we brought them up from JV,” Weisman said.

It has been a very polarizing season for the team, however, they hope that with this blend of youth and experience they can erase the past couple seasons of disappointment and reinstate the winning tradition the program is known for. #