Entering as the second seed in the district, the girls soccer team opens playoff contention against Steele Thursday at Toyota Field at 5:30 p.m. After a very strong district campaign, the girls look to make a deep playoff push, getting them back to Brownsville.
Only one player, senior Gabriella Johnson, remains from the the 2011-2012 team which made it to the Regional Semifinal match in Brownsville. One of the goals for the team is to get that senior, and the rest of the team, back to Brownsville and also a shot at reaching the State Tournament.
“Our ultimate goal this year is to get back to Brownsville,” Johnson said. “Brownsville, finals, to play Reagan again is where we want to be.”
In the first round of play, the girls will be taking on the team that ended their playoff run last year. Going into this week, the girls look to claim redemption for last year’s loss.
“It’s helped that we’ve played Steele already twice this season. We’ve lost to them once and we beat them the second time,” Johnson said. “This year it’s about us ending their run before it starts and them not ending ours before it starts.”
The team’s biggest strength is their chemistry. Players work well together and pass the ball very effectively, giving them a good handle on the game.
“I think we work really well together,” junior goalie and team captain Mary Cardone said. “We are always there to pick each other up when we’re down, so it’s always a positive attitude.”
One of their downfalls though is their youth. The team consists of only five seniors compared to the one freshman, five sophomores, and a whopping nine juniors.
On the other hand, many of the younger players have been been part of the varsity squad for quite a while.
As part of preparing for the post season, players take part in “the Gallon Challenge.” This tradition reminds players to stay hydrated every day in order to be prepared for game day.
“Basically, you try to drink as much water as you can a day, but, obviously, not too much,” Cardone said. “You get to pick a person [to exchange water jugs with]. You decorate it with ‘Go Mac,’ their number, and their name.”
The team’s second place finish in districts will give them a slightly easier road in playoffs than last year’s third place finish.
“I don’t really care about rankings, as long as we win,” Cardone said. “That’s all I care about.”