Approaching the boys´ varsity soccer match Thursday night, the team was coming off of a losing streak, having been defeated in their two matches prior and contributing to their 5-4-2 record. But after returning to their home field, they were able to capture a win against Plainfield North resulting in an impressive 2-1 victory, scoring their final goal with forty seconds remaining in the second half.
Just last week the Wolves lost to Plainfield North in an away tournament and then added to that defeat when they fell to Plainfield South this past Tuesday. With a loss to North already riding on their shoulders, the boys appeared defeated before even really kicking off the game. Senior captain and starting defenseman Drew Karg shares his concerns during the first half of the game.
¨The energy at the beginning of the game was slow and it was lazy, we didn’t communicate well or connect many passes¨ Karg said.
By halftime, the defeat continued, the boys were down 1-0 after North scored on a penalty kick. However, starting midfielder Dylan Drendel says the talk at halftime was the turning point of the game and where the Wolves regained their energy.
¨I think our comeback in the second half was good. In the first half we kind of got down and just gave up,¨ sophomore Drendel said. ¨We thought we were getting killed but then in the second half we came out with energy and [North] started to fall apart, they stopped talking and lost the ball more.¨
Head coach Steve Szymanski said he agreed that the Wolves had not performed their best in the first quarter, but that he remained hopeful.
¨We were down 1 to nothing and I thought our guys were playing like we were down 3 or 4 to nothing,¨ Szymanski said. ¨We were still in the game, we’ve been in the position before and we’ve come back and won those games. It’s nothing new, they just had to find the energy and dig deep. I knew we were still in the game.¨
On top of already being down a point, the Wolves lost two starting players to yellow cards, including their goalie. Both were removed from the game for using inappropriate language. Even with that disadvantage, sophomore Mutinda Kilonzo said the Wolves were able to maintain their energy, eventually leading to a goal that tied up the game.
¨We came into the game with a lot of energy and even when we lost two players to yellow cards we were able to maintain that and even potentially bring it up more,¨ Kilonzo said.
The game was nearing the end – with about a minute remaining – and the Wolves were still tied at 1-1. They needed a miracle.
Sophomore forward Josh Lopez said he felt the pressure in those last few moments, but despite that, when he received a pass with less than a minute remaining in the game, he finished perfectly, securing the ball into the back left corner of the net.
¨It’s hard when I can´t score or don´t get the opportunity to but I had to keep my cool and stay composed in order to try and score,¨ Lopez said.
Underestimated throughout this season after graduating 18 varsity athletes, Szymanski said even with almost an entirely new roster and a lot of sophomores, the Wolves are proving to be a strong force.
¨I think a lot of our players are playing above and beyond the expectations of probably what other teams thought,¨ Szymanski said. ¨You graduate 18 guys and most teams think you’re going to be at the bottom of the conference but we are competing with some of the better teams.¨
The Wolves remain on their home field Monday, September 26th where they battle their rivals, Oswego, in the annual crosstown match.
Grace Praxmarer is a staff editor for Oswego East’s online news magazine The HOWL