By: David Segal
Your Owls men’s soccer team, with the most successful season in 10 years, came to an abrupt close a couple weeks ago after an upset 3-2 loss to Camelback High School in the state play-in game. Although disappointing, the team achieved a lot during the season, including a tournament win and a 15-3-3 season.
The year started of inconspicuously, with a 2-2 tie in a scrimmage game against Buckeye, followed by two more ties in the Agua Fria Invitational, with no goals scored in a game against Desert Edge and a 1-1 scoreline against Betty H. Fairfax High School. Throughout both games, the Owls showed flashes of brilliance but seemed to lack the chemistry required to win games.
With its biggest test in front of them, the Owls clicked when it mattered most, scoring two world class goals against 2017 champions North Canyon, and proceeded to roll against Cortez, winning 5-2 in arguably the team’s best game of the year. The Owls finished 3rd in the tourney, but the tournament meant more than just a finish to Coach Eid. Eid noted that there were 24 players and the roster, and not all of them get to play when regular season comes around. He said that the tournament “simply gives the kids a chance to have fun but also try to make the starting 11.”
The Owls then set their sights on the regular season, winning a 3-2 thriller against Fairfax, besting them after a tie during the tournament. After a tie in the first away game of the season to Kellis, the Owls took care of business in Maricopa by a score of 5-1, then won an important region game against Barry Goldwater by a score of 1-0 thanks to a stifling defense.
The eventual crowning achievement of the season was achieved during winter break, and after taking the first week off, the Owls practiced hard and headed into the weekend tournament ready for competition. The Owls possessed the ball confidently throughout the tournament, winning all four games and only conceding two goals en route to the title.
In perhaps one of the most memorable moments of the season, Coach Eid received a red card due to a yellow for a player’s equipment issue and another for dissent to the referee. Minutes later, the Owls were without their star forward and their coach when Israel Mora collided with the keeper while trying to score, attempting to kick the ball into the net when the keeper charged into him. However, the referee thought otherwise and gave Mora a straight red as both players left the field injured. The Owls comfortably won the game 9-0 in the rain, but the strange events that happened in the game seemed to linger into the remainder of the season.
After that game, the Owls closed the season with a 3-3 record, losing to Verrado, Independence, and Camelback. Coach Eid reflected on the season, saying that “What we are doing is working. However, our only three losses came at the very end, so we have to keep that in mind-that the regular season is important, but when the post season comes, we have to be at our peak.” He went on to say that it was a great season, but the team “simply peaked too early in the season.” Please congratulate the soccer players for all the hard work they put in and for the success they had this season