Boys soccer team secures first CIF playoff win in years with penalty kicks against Woodbridge High School

SCANNING+THE+FIELD%3A+During+practice%2C+Nathan+Cassamassima+%E2%80%9924+looks+for+an+open+teammate+to+pass+the+ball+to+after+beating+a+defender.

Sandra Koretz

SCANNING THE FIELD: During practice, Nathan Cassamassima ’24 looks for an open teammate to pass the ball to after beating a defender.

Andrew Park

The boys soccer team won its first playoff game against Woodbridge High School 0-0, winning 8-7 in penalty kicks Feb. 11. The team finished the regular season with a winning record of 9-6-5.

Forward Stephen John Schaeffer ’23 said he attributes the team’s success to their perseverance and hard work.

“In my opinion, the season has gone pretty well because we had good cohesion, allowing us to reach the playoffs,” Schaeffer said. “Even though we had ups and downs throughout the season, mentally I felt that we were all strong and able to push through adversity which definitely was key in having us reach the playoffs.”

Although multiple team members were injured this season, Schaeffer said the injuries taught the team how to push through adversity and adjust to last-minute changes.

“We have struggled with injuries to some big players this year, and I have a concussion right now,” Schaeffer said. “These injuries did not hurt the team, and we overcame them as we had various goal scorers, and our team chemistry has really improved this year to become very tight-knit.”

Despite the team’s early success, center defender Asher Rossen ’23 said players struggled to remain motivated as the season came to a close.

“I think that we started off the season with a lot of momentum as we were a cohesive, unstoppable unit, and I feel that we could have beaten any opponent.” Rossen said. “Unfortunately, towards the end of our season, the momentum began to die down and we ended up losing or tying teams that we definitely could have beat.”

Rossen said going into the playoffs, the team has focused on moving forward and learning from its previous losses.

“Our mindset after losing to Notre Dame [High School] was not the best as we would go on to tie one and lose two more following that loss,” Rossen said. “However, as a team, we have done much reflection on this loss as we go into our playoff game.”

Rossen said his own mentality has shifted over the season, as he now puts a bigger emphasis and focus on teamwork.

“As the season progressed, my mindset has changed from mainly focusing on myself and my growth as a player to being a part of my team,” Rossen said. “People say there is no ‘I’ in team, and I firmly believe in that as I want to win for my family on the pitch and more specifically, the seniors who have put so much blood, sweat and tears into the program.”

Midfielder Tyler Ulrich ’24 said winning the first playoff game in years validated the hard work the team has put in on and  off the field.

“Even when we are not on the field practicing, we are constantly watching [our] film to have a great game plan,” Ulrich said. “Ultimately,  all the hard work allowed the team to win their first playoff game in a couple years, and I am extremely proud to be part of the team.”

SCANNING THE FIELD: During practice, Nathan Cassamassima ’24 looks for an open teammate to pass the ball to after beating a defender. (Sandra Koretz)