Even though the World Cup fever ended in America two months ago, the enthusiasm for soccer still runs high at our high school. This season, both the boys and girls soccer teams have experienced players, talented newcomers, and supportive coaches to help our school bring home another GMC trophy. Through hard work and determination that started in summer, these players are fighting to show their rivals that they are the team to beat in the GMC tournament. So far, the boys and girls soccer teams have showed immense progress and are bound to improve both individually and as a team by the end of the season.
This year, the boys’ soccer team has compiled a solid 6-7-1 record with the help of captains Antonio Nigro (12), Casey He (12), and Sridhar Sriram (12). The boys started the season off quickly and found the back of the net nine times in their first four games. After a tough week against perennial powers South Brunswick and Monroe, the boys found their footing again in a 2-1 win against Piscataway. Senior Antonio Nigro leads the team with six goals, while forward Siddharth Hariharan (12) has racked up four goals and four assists. However, injuries have been plaguing the varsity squad since the very beginning, hurting two of the captains. Captain Casey He was injured during the pre-season, and senior keeper and captain Sridhar Sriram hurt his knee in a game against the St. Joseph Falcons. Fortunately, substitute goalie Connor Shah (12) stepped up in place of Srid and prevented several goals that would have quickly turned the tide of the game against the Hawks. Connor already has a total of 52 saves in the last eight competitions and recorded a shutout against Old Bridge. Casey, one of the two second-year captains, reflects on how the team has dealt with the hardships it has faced so far: “We started off the season strong but we stumbled through our away schedule. Now that some of our key players are back, our team is ready to put everything we have to bring back the wins on the home field,” says Casey, who still made two assists and one goal even with his injury. Fortunately, the team has a total of fifteen seniors, six of whom have played on varsity for at least three years; despite the two injured captains, the Hawks still have a lot of experience going into every match.
On the other hand, the girls are improving everyday under the training of Coach Dato. They make up for the lack of varsity experience on the team with heart and determination in every game.The Lady Hawks are led this year by senior captains Hannah Harkay, Nidhi Patel, and Kiersten Shannon, who have helped in developing a competitive squad going into the GMC tournament. Juniors Alexandra Maris and Sarah Elshafei along with freshman Caitlyn Shannon are leading the team in goals this season. Although the girls are 0-13, they still look forward to improving in every practice and game they play. When asked about how they plan to spend the rest of the season, captain Kiersten Shannon specifically mentions that “our first touch and keeping possession are some of the things that we need to work on, but with this team, anything is possible.” According to captain Hannah Harkay, the team lives by a principle of the legendary Brazilian soccer player, Pelé: “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” She expects her team to embrace this principle throughout the rest of the season .
Both teams have worked very hard each day of the burning summer sun as well as the harsh fall winds. With every passing game, the boys and girls soccer teams remain focused on their ultimate goal: clinching the GMC trophy to close out the season.