By Jay Maturi
In the beginning of the 2015 UHS boys’ soccer season, the team was faced with a challenge. After losing 9 valuable seniors at the end of the 2014 season, many believed it would be hard to make up for this loss. Facing a fresh, less-experienced lineup, the team was unsure if they would be able to achieve the same standard as in previous years. However, due to the leadership of senior Dimitri Georgakopoulos, and juniors Tyler Wott and Samuel Rudd, the UHS soccer team was filled with a young group of students who were determined to win. Many younger students rose to the occasion as well. Sophomore Ryan Williams scored over 10 goals throughout the season, and multiple freshmen, including Ethan Bandick and Coghlin Kumler, contributed heavily to the Varsity team.
The first game of the season was against Heritage Christian, in which the UHS team fell 5-0. After discussing this, the team realized that they weren’t communicating on the field, winning 50/50 balls, or capitalizing on free kicks/corner kicks. Once the team realized this, they began to work relentlessly in practice to improve their technique. Following a tie to Lutheran, the UHS soccer team won their next two conference matchups against Bethesda Christian and Seton Catholic with ease.
While the Varsity team fell to Park Tudor 4-0 midway through the season, it is important not to forget the JV team, who worked tirelessly to get better and improve on their technique. When the JV boys played Park Tudor, while the score remained tied 1-1 in the second half, a clutch header by Michael Bounsall sealed the game 2-1 in the end.
As the season continued, many of the next games involved 1-goal encounters, with the exception of large victories over Irvington and Anderson. One of the last games of the season was against TriWest, the #1 team in the state (for 1A soccer). While UHS fought hard, they fell 2-1 after an appalling offside call following a score by University.
Before sectionals began, the team had their Senior Night on October 2nd. With a crowd of over 150 people, UHS was set to play International High School. Following some chilly weather and strong winds, some miscommunication among the team allowed International to score a couple of lucky goals over University in a 2-1 loss. However, it was a great night for friends and family to enjoy the game.
Following the drawing for sectionals, UHS was chosen to play Park Tudor at Heritage High School. Filled with enthusiasm and determination to win, Ryan Williams scored an early chip to put UHS up with a 1-0 lead. However, after some miscommunication between players, Park Tudor rallied back with 2 goals going into the half. After a rousing half-time pep talk, Wes Priest stated that the second half of the sectional match was, “Some of the best UHS soccer ever played.” Following an egregious call by the referee resulting in a PK, UHS fell 3-2 in an emotional, but thrilling, game.
With almost 30 goals from 11 different players, the UHS boys’ soccer team had a great year. A final shoutout to all the seniors— Dimitri Georgakopoulos, Ben Klemsz, Jamie Weerakkody, Connor Watkins, Ben Fletcher, Garrett Tombs, Ed Henderson, and Ethan Haut. They all had phenomenal seasons, and we wish them the best in the future!