Last Tuesday, the Scheck Hillel Lions varsity soccer teams were put through a true test of determination. Faced with their biggest rivals, the Miami Country Day Spartans, both the boys and girls varsity teams felt a bit of pressure. The anxiety, of course, that comes with such a high intensity and much anticipated game is not the only factor that led to stress. It is actually the expectation of fellow students to dominate that sets the pace and increases risk.
To start the night, the girls’ team played at 5 pm, holding their opponents at a 0-0 draw until halftime. This is when things began to take a turn for the worse. Despite their training and effort, the Lions became weary. However, they relentlessly maintained a tie score. Water break rolled around, and so did a goal by the Spartans. Soon, four more were knocked into the back of the Scheck Hillel goal, flustering the hard-working keeper. Consequently, the game ceased in a 5-0 loss for the Lions. Despite this, it was clear that their passing and endurance had improved significantly since their last game. When asked of the way the girls played, senior captain Simi Serfati stated, “I think tonight’s game truly shows how much potential we have as a team and how well we can play when we leave our hearts on the field. The score most definitely does not reflect how we played and I am proud of the way each and every player played today.”
Following the match were the boys, who took the field at 7 pm. The intensity of this game was triple that of the girls’ game. Why? Aside from the Spartan goal in the first few minutes of the game, the aggressiveness of the Spartans was indescribable. During the course of the night both the players and the coaches of the Country Day team received cards. The coaches received technicals, and the players had multiple yellows- there in the span of a mere two minutes. Soon enough, the Lions, passionate and motivated, used all of their willpower to knock one in the back of the net. This tied the score to 1-1, where it would remain for the rest of the game. In the final minutes, the stands could see the boys’ fervor, as they had over five shots on goal be blocked by the Spartan keeper. Captain Ilan Lapco, a senior on the team, says, “I see a bright future for this team. Although we start off slow, we get into a rhythm at the right moment and we give it our all. That’s how we played tonight, and we just need to get better and better everyday. Our chemistry is there, and even though we have many new, younger players, we have been able to be on the same page sooner than expected”.
With two committed teams of amazing student-athletes, it is quite obvious that the season ahead is going to bring a lot our way. Yes, there are obstacles, difficult teams and those that do not value sportsmanship, but these are simply hurdles that we Lions will overcome. Get ready for a winning season.