MIDDLEFIELD–Cardinal’s first-year girls’ soccer program has been short on wins this fall, but the Huskies certainly haven’t lacked heart and effort.
That effort began long before the Huskies battled to a 1-1 draw with Garfield Heights on Tuesday, as seniors Anna Avalon, Mackenzie Conley and Marina Cooper, as well as a handful of younger players, worked hard to recruit enough players to create the first girls’ team in school history.
Those seniors were honored before Tuesday’s game and won’t soon be forgotten.
“It was an amazing experience,” said Avalon, the team’s goalkeeper. “Even though we didn’t win an exceptional amount of games, to see a team we’ve worked so hard to get improve in the way it has is truly an amazing experience.”
Conley and Cooper were among the defensive players who helped protect Avalon in the goal.
“It was an amazing experience being able to be a part of the first girls’ team,” Cooper said. “The thought of playing on a girls’ team was a bit nerve-wracking at first, however, this team definitely changed my perspective of the game.”
Conley hopes to see the program thrive in the future.
“I think I brought this team love and confidence to live on forever,” she said. “I think the team did great and definitely improved so much. They are all amazing people to play the game with.”
All three seniors played a big part in bringing girls soccer to Cardinal and they hope the underclassmen work just as hard to keep the program alive.
With so many inexperienced players, the Huskies took their lumps this season but also gained confidence and experience.
“I hope that the defensive line definitely learned from Mack and me,” Cooper said. “They have improved a lot through this season. The defensive line has really come together and truly learned confidence with the game and themselves. Our midfielders have also improved and hopefully, they will teach new players how to be everywhere on the field and get to wherever the ball is. Our offensive line has improved immensely with settling the ball and attacking at any chance they get. They are very confident players who will hopefully teach newer players how to be ready for anything that comes from the defense. I know these girls will want to improve more with the upcoming season and will do whatever it takes to keep this soccer program going.”
Avalon leaves her younger teammates with some simple advice.
“Stick together and work hard as a team,” she said. “We’ve had our moments but we’ve learned to stay together and give it our all in every game.”
The Huskies close out the regular season at home on Saturday against Firelands then open the postseason at Cornerstone Christian on Oct. 16.