Elder soccer battles through adversity

Varsity soccer has not lost in their past five games, while grinding through tough times - 18 strong

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Varsity Team Pic

When adversity strikes on or off the field, you have a choice: remain faithful, or hide in fear.

Elder soccer has chosen to be faithful and rally around one another. As a member of the varsity soccer team, I can say first hand that we have something special right now, we have gone through some tough times, but have only gotten better.

A few weeks ago, our teammate Alex Hils, suffered the loss of his older sister, Meghan Hils. The days following her death, were tough on everyone as a unit, but we remained focused, because we had a very tough test ahead, the St. Xavier bombers. The bombers came to the PAC to play us, just three days after Meghan’s passing, and we wanted a win more than ever, but more importantly, we wanted her younger brother, Alex Hils to get a goal in honor of Meghan.

Prior to the game, the team gathered in the locker room to discuss match tactics. When we arrived, we were told by head coach Tony Gray, that we would showcase black arm bands in honor of Meghan. We went into battle later that night against a very talented St. X team, and came out with a 0-0 draw. It may not have been the result we wanted, but it gave us a little bit of swagger to carry through the coming days.

Mike Maloney dicing defenders
Varsity Views
Mike Maloney dicing defenders

 

The day after we played St. X was Meghan’s layout, and the day after was her funeral. We went to both of these as a team, and just tried to be the best support we could be for our brother, Alex.

Groll fighting off defenders
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Groll fighting off defenders

Ever since we received the black arm bands, we have played five games and have not lost. The arm bands have given us something bigger to play for.

A few weeks following the death of Meghan, the team was celebrating a senior night win over GCL rival, Moeller; when gunfire came raining down out of nowhere. I was sitting in the locker room area along with the rest of the team, and coaches, and all of a sudden everyone came running back into our room shouting “shut the door,” and “shots fired.”

Our team regrouped and met back in the coaches office, where we prayed that Mr. Espelage, and everyone else would be safe.

The cops and ambulance arrived very quickly, and took control of the situation.

Everyone was ultimately okay, and the team has returned to practicing at the PAC.

I caught up with junior co-captain Eric Groll.

“Our team has been through a lot together, and we have responded excellently. We have not gotten rattled, we just get better,” he said.

Eric also told me, “

I think it is important to stay together, move on, but never forget the things we have gone through.”

— Eric Groll (co-captain)

Senior co-captain Mike Maloney told me, “I thought it was really cool how we could come together as a whole, and pray with each other, and just be there for one another.”

Maloney said, “Andy Geigle has been huge for our team during all this, he is pretty much another captain on the field, and

Ian Hoeting mid-game
Adam Baum
Ian Hoeting mid-game

has just been huge for our team.”

Maloney also thinks the black arm bands are really cool, because they remind us of what we have been through, while helping us to get better everyday.

Senior co-captain, Ian Hoeting told me, “You know, I have not really changed my approach to how I lead, but I am just trying to support the team the best way I can.”

Hoeting also told me, “I think our team is responding perfectly to the events we have faced, because before Hils’ sister, and the incident on senior night, we struggled, but ever since, we have not lost, and we have beat some of the toughest teams in the state.”

Our head coach, Tony Gray always, tells us, no matter what is going on in the games, or off the field, we always need to be 18 strong, and play as one. I think this little saying has helped us stay together, and our team has become 18 strong.

We will slowly begin to move on from these incidents, but we will never forget what we have been through.