By: Luca Muehlbauer
This soccer season was a rough one for the Imps. But there was plenty of action. Throughout the season there were plenty of goals, fouls, and winning, but not enough to go to the playoffs this year. The varsity team had a bumpy start in the conference, losing their first 6 games, but they bounced back throughout the rest of the season ending with a record of 4-4 within the conference. The season ended with a loss to Middle Creek, had they won the game they may have made the playoffs.
Led by Coach Kerrigan, the varsity team had a great second half of the season. Kerrigan had led the men’s varsity team to a conference championship in the 2019-2020 season and also coached at the collegiate level for 11 years at NC State. Kerrigan states, “The last 4 weeks we went 4-4 in the conference, and if we had done that the whole season we would have made the playoffs.” This team was clearly capable of making it to the playoffs, and unfortunately, their record did not show it.
This season the varsity team was primarily made up of seniors, the team had 13 seniors overall. That is an extremely high amount of seniors and during the season you could really see that players trusted the seniors to be there for them. For example, both captains were seniors. They provided great leadership to the players. In addition, the team had a strong defense made of almost all seniors, three out of the four players on the defensive line were seniors.
Next season there is a lot of hope for the varsity team. There may be 13 players leaving the team due to graduation but there’s still plenty of talent on this team. The JV team had a fantastic season this past year. Hopefully some of that talent can transfer onto the varsity squad and hopefully, the returning varsity players will lead the team to victory. For example, Hudson Stevens and Santiago Escobar, probably some of the rising stars from this past season will be coming back for another shot at making the playoffs. Kerrigan said that some of her goals were “To have as many guys as possible to come to voluntary training in the summer.” She is hoping to get a look at all the players and learn more about the players well before the season officially begins. Additionally, she is hoping this will help her choose the correct team for the season. It can also help the team itself build chemistry for the season.
In spite of all the strength the team had this season, they still did have some struggles, Kerrigan stated that a big issue was that many players didn’t join the team till August-“We had different guys out at different times, and that hurt us in terms of developing a team rhythm.” Many players this season had personal issues or just came late into the season. Many injuries affected the team’s rhythm. The starting lineup was always changing for the first month due to these sudden changes. Kerrigan said that this was a huge hurdle for them.
This team has so much potential and hopefully, they will have more success next season. It was a very fun and entertaining season. All the games were aggressive and we always gave it our all. This coming season as Kerrigan said, we would love to see more people at the summer training. It can help the coaches get to know you and see how you play, and it also helps the team’s chemistry. The bonding between the players is an essential aspect of the game. So if you can come to some training sessions this summer for the team that would be great! It might be just what we need to win next season. Go Imps!