Girls soccer prepares for their big finish

As someone who quit soccer at the age of eight, I have a lot of respect for soccer players. I know I could never run for that long, learn all of the formations, and maneuver the ball downfield with ease. Watching soccer can feel boring at times, but the game is deceivingly fast-paced, and the suspense of trying to hold onto a 1-point lead for long amounts of time can hold the audience on the edge of their seats. Or in the case of this years Bellarmine Girls soccer team, it was hope of being down by 1-point.

The Lady Lions’ soccer season got off to a rocky start, as the team suffered three straight losses to open the season. They got back on track with a win over Emerald Ridge and nearly turned their season around with a close loss to Olympia. After that, however, a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Sumner would become the second loss of a six-game losing streak. At 1-9, The Lions seemed to be dead in the water, destined for a last-place finish. That was when the Lions did the impossible, reeling off back-to-back wins against Curtis and Bethel. At 3-9, Bellarmine has three remaining games and plans to make the most of them. “Our best game hasn’t been played yet,” says senior daptain Roma Sharkey. Their win on Monday, Oct. 17 came at home, a 1-0 affair over Bethel.

Despite their 3-9 record, there are many positives about this Bellarmine team. For starters, their point differential really isn’t that bad. Bellarmine has scored 11 goals this season, averaging .92 goals per game. They have allowed 23 goals, which averages out to 1.92 goals per game. That means the Lions are only losing by an average of 1 goal per game.

Nearly all of the games they have played have been very competitive. This is in large part due to their goalie, junior Madi Munguia, who recently committed to play collegiately for the University of Alabama.

One of the challenges for the team this season has been scheming. “We’ve had to navigate all different styles of play,” said senior captain Josie Jaback. The team has tried many formations this year, from a 3-5-2, to a 4-2-3-1, to a 4-3-3, and even a 4-4-2. Some of their formations have led to success, and others have led to less desirable results.

Even if the season hasn’t gone the way they may have hoped, the girls have done a remarkable job at staying positive. Sharkey said it best. “The best thing about the team, in my opinion, is that we all want to play for each other, even during the games that haven’t been as successful.”

Freshman Kiley Hentschell remarked, “Our motivation is very good; you would never know we had a 1-8 record.”

The team’s motto throughout the season has been perseverance. Head Coach Jim Dempsey has similar things to say about the team, remarking that “we have a great group of girls, we’ve had some challenging results, unfortunately, lost a bunch of close matches, but they have great attitudes, and we still believe in working together. We have a great shot at winning a lot of games to close out the season and possibly making the playoffs.”

If their last two games show anything, it’s that this team has no quit in them. They will keep fighting, led by their senior captains Jaback, Sharkey, and Anna Wetzel. And they will continue to persevere and win more games to close out the season.

Anna Wetzel (‘23) and McKenna Mitchell (‘24) smile after scoring goals in Bellarmines 2-1 win against Curtis. (Photo courtesy of @bpsgirlssoccer on Instagram)