Whitman ends boys soccer’s undefeated streak

By Amna Farooqi, Editor-in-Chief

 

The boys soccer team’s impressive undefeated run came to an end Oct. 5 at the hands of Whitman in a painful loss which saw the boys concede a goal in the last two minutes of overtime, losing 0-1 to the Vikings. The game was followed by another 1-2 loss to B-CC Oct. 11 and a thrilling 1-1 draw against WJ Oct. 17.

 

The Bulldogs, now 8-2-1, will look ahead to the season after a three-game winless streak.

 

According to senior Dylan Regan, the Whitman game brought the team back to reality after such a successful run.

 

“It’s hard not to be confident when you’re undefeated,” Regan said.

 

The team defended resolutely under pressure from a persistent Whitman attack, which initially did not seem to pose as much of a threat to the Bulldogs but took advantage of a weakened midfield which gave away possession carelessly. While the CHS offense grinded out decent shots when they picked up the ball and developed plays, they were too few and far between to make a significant impact in the first half.

 

“We deserved to win,” coach Arnold Tarzy said. “We were a bit unlucky; there’s nothing to be sad about or to celebrate.”

 

The team came out in the second half with a greater sense of urgency, but was ultimately unable to break the deadlock after 90 minutes of exhaustion and frustration. While the boys refused to give up pressing forward and continued to defend with a toughness Whitman was having trouble breaking down, the missed chances eventually came back to hurt the Bulldogs.

 

“We needed it; we were getting sloppy,” senior captain Eric Ossola said. “It will help us work harder.”

 

Over a week later, the Bulldogs entertained the undefeated Wildcats at home in an enthralling draw which saw Regan and Tarzy red-carded and three other players yellow-carded. The team created numerous chances in an energetic first half but spent the later part of the match playing recklessly, albeit with heart.

 

After going a goal down in the second half, Ossola powered a long-range shot straight at the goalkeeper who couldn’t keep it out. Despite the rejuvenated atmosphere that gripped the stadium, the fatigue caught up with the players who couldn’t keep enough composure to score again.

 

“One of our greatest attributes is they have a tremendous desire to play hard in the game,” Tarzy said. “The team’s personality is very tough. They’re a tough, tough team to beat. They fight very hard.”

 

The game, like others this season, was a reflection on the spirit of the players, who worked hard for each other and tracked back when needed to defend. The team is much more of a cohesive unit this year than in the past, according to Ossola.

 

According to senior captain Jack Butler, the team has meshed well with players in different areas. Juniors Crispin Muessle and Barth Mouafo have dominated scoring and possession respectively, and senior goalie Eli Lorenzi has defended consistently well.

 

One of the focuses of this season will be making sure defense stays unforgiving.

 

“One consistent theme is clean sheets—nothing bad can happen if you give up no goals,” Tarzy said. “Being strong in defense will help on offense.”

 

The backline will also be a source of leadership for the team, as four of the five returning seniors play in defensive positions.

 

“We’re developing our ideas; we’re possessing a lot—we have a natural drive to score,” Ossola said. “Me and Jack keep everyone doing what we’re supposed to.”

 

The younger boys, who make up the majority of the team, have responded well to the leadership and example set by the seniors.

 

“We’re closer this year than last year,” junior Peter Giavotto said. “It’s a connection. Eric can keep us together. He gets us pumped and makes us want each game—and keeps the connection.”

 

For most of the players, though, the overarching goal is to reach state finals, something the Bulldogs haven’t done since 2002, nearly a decade ago.

 

“We are one of the best in the state,” Giavotto said. “Skillfully, we may not be one of the greatest, but mentally we are the best. We can win every game—and that’s what gets us through every time.”