Girls’ soccer kicking into the new year

Anjali Sundaram , Reporter

She looks over, making eye contact with her other teammates, while her breath comes out in short painful pants but she is ready, this is what she lives for. Now, in this moment there is nothing expect her and this goal. She stares right into the goalie’s eyes. She takes a deep breath, closes her eyes and boom! Cheers rang out through the crowd.

This year, the girls’ soccer team went through several changes. With the loss of many senior players, this is one of the first years that they have played with such a small team. Junior Alison Stallings explains her feelings toward the size of the team this year.

“The smaller number we have on the team is no reflection of the amount of talent we have compared to last year,” Stallings said.  “We have just as much skill as last year, and I believe we can benefit by having fewer girls. I prefer less people on a team because with less subbing it helps the team get into a rhythm during the game, and we flow better if our game isn’t interrupted by constant player changes.”

Stallings isn’t the only person that feels this way, senior Emily Longford, who plays goalkeeper and has been playing for ten years in total and four for Cedar Park, echoes the same sentiments.

“With a smaller team this year, I do not see it affecting us in any negative way,” Longford said. “We have a great group of girls and we are working to make it as far, if not farther, this year than we did last year.”

Even with a small team, the girls are not going down without a fight. Like the rest of the school, the girls hold a strong rivalry towards our Lonestar Cup competitors. Junior Emma Dooher explains who is our biggest opponent and why.

“Obviously, Vandegrift has been our biggest opponent the last couple of years,” Dooher said. “There is just such a strong rivalry because of the individual history between players and the level of competition each school brings. Ours games against Vandegrift have always been dramatic, and I expect that the will of each school to win will be higher than ever.”

Dooher goes on to explain the tournaments that the girls have been going to and which competitions to expect them at.

“Traditionally, CP has attended the Highland Park Tournament up in Dallas and the Round Rock Tournament here,” Dooher said.  “Highland Park is one of the strongest tournaments in Texas, with 6A schools that compete for the state title every year. We performed extremely well and were able to score some goals and compete with very good teams. Similarly, in the Round Rock Tournament, we came out with goals and improvements to help us get ready for district.”

However, with all of the games they have coming up, Stalling reinforces the statement that winning is no easy feat, and actually takes a lot of practice.

“We have been working really hard this preseason in training,” Stallings said. “We changed our formation for games, so we’ve been doing a lot of shape drills in practice where we focus on passing and spacing while in the positions we would play in for a game. In order to stay in shape we do a lot of running, and even though nobody particularly enjoys doing fitness we all understand it’s important.”

Training is important to prepare before a game, but according to many players, so is what you do before the game as Longford gives insight on the girl’s pre-game ritual.

“Before games we have our usual jam sessions to get everyone pumped and ready for the game,” Longford said. “Individually, we have our own things that we do before a game, whether it’s a certain way someone braids their hair or a different color shoe lace in their cleat. I just have my AdvoCare Spark drink before every game.”

Dooher also goes into other aspects of what the team does before they play.

“There are tons of traditions,” Dooher said.  “We have team dinners once a week and make posters for motivation. Before every game we play songs that have been on CPGS warm up CDs for years, and right before the game we pray.”