By Kalina Natcheva, contributing writer
As the end of the 2021 Fall sports season is right around the corner, the Whaler boys’ soccer team has shown tremendous fighting spirit as they overcame challenges in their playing- both physically and mentally. At the beginning of their season, the boys’ record sat at 4-2 as they were 3rd in the Cape and Islands league. The early losses did not discourage them, however, since their record now sits at 9-4-1, or nine wins, four losses, and one tie, (as of October 28th), and the boys moved up to being 2nd in their league. The members of the team “have all of what it takes for the playoffs” as they strive to keep their momentum.
With the upcoming playoffs creeping up, the boy’s soccer team is preparing, as they are as determined as ever. Senior Co-Captain and defensive center-back, Max Beebe, stated: “For our future, I believe that we will be one of the top contenders going into the playoffs. We all plan to give it our all for the rest of the season so that we can make it as far as possible.”
A collective mindset will ultimately determine the team’s overall seed, as they are currently 10th in Massachusetts Division 4. Despite not being in the Top 5 whilst going into the final few games of the season, members of the team believe that they can actually better their seed and go further into the top 10, which would immensely spark stronger motivation and increase their chances in the playoffs.
Although the team has recently been on fire, winning a majority of their games, the beginning of the season held some technical and mental struggles for the boys, due to limited competition caused by the previous Coronavirus regulations.
“We struggled because we hadn’t been able to play in a little under two years”, reflected Beebe, who has taken the leadership role along with junior Co-Captain and Center Midfielder Richard “Treyce” Brannigan. The long gap between seasons instigated forgotten playing experiences, since playing competitively against other schools is exceptionally different from simply scrimmaging against familiar teammates.
“We didn’t have much confidence at the start,” remarked senior attacking Midfielder and frequent goal scorer, David Lemus. Confidence is a key factor that can definitely “make or break a game”, according to members of the team, and the long gap in competitive playing can definitely make it more challenging to radiate it. This loss in playing essentially created a significant disadvantage for the team, which they had to conquer by improving their rusty skills and athletic mentality in order to achieve their goals- individually and collectively.
“The hardest thing for us to overcome is getting our focus up and getting ready for every game-no matter the team we play,” shared Brannigan. “It could be a team that has a record of 0-10, but they might just want the win more than us.” This relates back to the team’s state of mind; they are out of practice with competitiveness. However, after being in practice again, it has been gradually getting more powerful as the season progresses. Skill and mental outlook go hand in hand in this sport, as pivotal moments can determine the result of a game.
“We will be able to overcome any mistakes that happen as we for sure make them, but with the right mindset we will fix them right away during the next play and come back better than ever”, explained Brannigan. In order to make this dream a reality, players will have to work together, and connect with each other on an athletic level, as one person does not determine a team’s future. This has been reflected in the team’s overall performance, as they have been fiercely winning their games.
It is safe to say that fans are eager to see how the team will perform in the playoffs, as the audiences’ passionate cheers are frequently heard from the sidelines. The soccer fields are filled with rapid, talented, motivated players who all want the same thing: to win. It all comes down to who wants it most, and which team shows the most stamina.