By Vivian Collings
The cold, drizzling rain couldn’t dampen the warmth, exuded by the beaming smiles of the Red Hawks girls’ soccer teams at the home opener on Monday, May 2. The evident joy expressed by the senior and junior soccer players, wearing their red and white kits, was from being able to represent the community at their home field for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began more than two years ago.
The senior girl’s team may have lost 3-1 at the conclusion of the third game of the season against the Lindsay Collegiate Vocational Institute (LCVI) Spartans, but the score did not reflect the team’s effort.
Senior girls’ soccer coach, Doug Sullivan, said, “We played well and improved as the game went on. HHSS girl’s soccer teams always compete hard, even though we are not as prepared as other years, as we only have five returning players who last played in Grade 9.”
Despite only having a few players who had ever competed before, the team did not exhibit reservations about showing support for teammates, as they still took to the field with loud, encouraging cheers for each other.
Senior team captain, Bella Smolen, who is in her final year, enjoyed her first competitive soccer since she was about five because of the pandemic and related health measures that restricted gathering.
“After a tough loss at our away game on Apr. 25 in Lindsay, the whole team showed up for our home opener, played with tons of determination, and never gave up on the ball,” she said.
She, like all of her teammates, missed out on the opportunity to play due to poor field conditions in the 2018 season, and the proceeding two seasons were lost due to COVID-19 health measures.
Amy Klose, senior girl’s soccer coach, said that it’s been amazing to watch the way the players make the best out of the situation and have been able to jump right back into playing competitively.
During the senior game, LCVI scored two of their goals during the first half of the game and one in the second. Red Hawks player, Emma Tidey, scored their only goal with only a few minutes to spare.
Smolen said, “The highlight of the game was Emma Tidey scoring after I had just hit the post. She picked up the rebound and buried it in the net.”
The HHSS junior girl’s soccer team lost 5-2, which followed the seniors during the double-header.
Courtney Cook, coach of the junior team, said, “The game started off well, but unfortunately, we lost steam going into the second half. We will take this as a learning experience. Our main goals going into the season were to get students active again, build team skills, and have fun.”
Later in the week, the seniors went on the road where they beat host school St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School 4-1 in Lindsay on May 4.
Sullivan said the team played well, led by the defence.
The Hawks have three more home games left in the season on May 9, May 11, and May 16, including the Kawartha Championship on May 20.