Young boys soccer team looks to impress

Alek+Kovalcik+fights+for+the+ball+against+a+Greenfield+player.+Boys+soccer+has+had+much+success+with+a+young+team+this+season.

courtesy Spector Sports & Portraits

Alek Kovalcik fights for the ball against a Greenfield player. Boys soccer has had much success with a young team this season.

Boys soccer is continuing with their upward momentum from prior years, despite losing many graduating senior players. 

“[Our record] has been really pretty good for us, pretty impressive from my point of view, just being that we had graduated 11 very experienced seniors last year, and now we have a pretty young team in comparison,” said Kyle Konkol, varsity head coach. 

This year, varsity has two freshmen, eight sophomores, six juniors, and three seniors. 

“They’re working really hard, and they’re learning a lot, to immediate results on the field,” Konkol said. “It’s a really good group of guys.”

For Chris Aguilar, varsity freshman, it was an adjustment getting used to playing at the same high level as his older teammates, as well as their competition.

“It was hard, at first, playing with older kids, but as I kept playing it got easier to cope with the players and the upperclassmen,” Aguilar said. “Sometimes they are bigger, more physical and faster than you are, since they are at a later stage of their lives.”

The young team had Konkol nervous that they wouldn’t meet the high standards that the program has fostered in recent years. 

“Over the last several years we’ve been building the program toward wanting to compete for conference championships, for state championships,” Konkol said. “We’ve been consistently ranked in the top five for our division, Division 3, every year, and that’s where we expect to be, so the question mark this year was, when we lost so many players, how would we rise up to that level? We’ve kind of answered that call so far.” 

The question mark this year was, when we lost so many players, how would we rise up to that level?”

— Kyle Konkol, varsity head coach

That’s not to say there wasn’t any kind of learning curve. The team lost their first game, and Konkol says that they especially struggled in the first 20 minutes as they tried to figure out the new dynamic and get comfortable. However, their hard work quickly brought better results in coming games.

“If we played that game now… it could’ve gone a different way,” Konkol said. 

Konkol says that a lot of that improvement came from players being flexible about what positions they played. Some learned new positions, and some played positions that they did not enjoy for the sake of the team. 

“Each individual has had to do things that they might be uncomfortable with in order to benefit the whole group of people, and I think that’s just an awesome thing to be a part of and to try to teach,” Konkol said.

For seniors, this season offers an opportunity to take a strong leadership role on the team. 

“We’ve worked better as a team than we ever have before,” said Ben Lichtenstein, senior. 

 For Konkol, the best part of coaching is getting to know the team each year, and this season is no exception.

“It’s a fun mix of personalities, and ages, and ability levels,” Konkol said. 

Despite the challenges of being a younger player, Aguilar finds playing with the more experienced players a lot of fun. Looking forward to the rest of the season, Aguilar is feeling optimistic in his team and himself, and hopes for his team to finish top in their conference. 

“And, maybe getting a few points on the board just for me would be good,” Aguilar said.