The NS boys soccer season came to an end on Tuesday, May 4, after a hard-fought 1-2 loss against Tooele. Having seen vast improvement over the season, the narrow loss was a tough way to go out.
“It was really hard losing to someone that we shouldn’t have,” said head coach Julio Tapia. “We had the opportunities, we had the better team overall, we just could not capitalize.”
Many of the players were frustrated with Tooele’s style of play which resulted in an extremely physical game. NS responded, and the game ended with five total yellow cards.
“I was not impressed with the way Tooele played; they played a very primitive style of soccer,” junior Makade Talbot said. “I was just trying to have fun with it, but once they started playing dirty and injuring my players, I got angry, the whole team did.”
Senior Kelton Christensen agrees.
“I can’t say that they suck because they beat us,” Christensen said. “I just wish we could have played a team who respected us a bit more, and respected themselves a bit more.”
Although Tooele’s sportsmanship was less than ideal, the NS players admit that the loss can’t be blamed on that alone.
“Some of our players got mad, and it gave them opportunities that they shouldn’t have had,” senior Eddy Mendez said.
Freshman Luis Rodriguez also thinks that the team made some key mistakes that cost them the game.
“When they made that last goal a lot of us were frustrated at that point,” Rodriguez said. “We still had chances after that but we couldn’t finish and that’s why we lost.”
Despite the disappointing end, this team did impressive things over the course of the season, although the beginning of the season didn’t go as planned.
“We always had the talent, we had the skill, but we didn’t have the chemistry,” Mendez said. “We didn’t know how to communicate, we didn’t trust each other, and that’s why we were losing.”
The team began doing other activities together, and becoming close off the field made a clear difference on the field. They made improvements and managed to finish second in region, earning a home playoff game for the first time ever.
“We had a bit of a rocky start, but once we started winning,” Talbot said. “We saw that we could actually play to the level of these other teams that had always treated us like trash in the past and that just pushed us to try even harder.”
Tapia won’t be returning to coach next year, but this season was a good way to finish his nine years at NS.
“As a coach I love to see the growth, both in the game and in the individuals. Once we came together as a team, I really enjoyed the season,” Tapia said. “It was the most fun I have had in all my years coaching.”