The men’s soccer team kicks it with some tough competitors

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The men’s soccer team kicks it with some tough competitors

Jason Schunk passes the ball to a teammate.

Jason Schunk passes the ball to a teammate.

Staff Photo by Abigail Mosher

Jason Schunk passes the ball to a teammate.

Staff Photo by Abigail Mosher

Staff Photo by Abigail Mosher

Jason Schunk passes the ball to a teammate.

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Dribble, pass, shoot, score! This season the men’s soccer team fought resiliently against some intense opponents, such as Wake Forest and Heritage, finishing third out of six in their conference. 

“Last season was a lot better,” Jason Schunk, senior returning starter and co-team captain, said. “We had two strong strikers, but now we just have one and [he] gets marked [or guarded] heavily.”

A huge component of the team’s struggle during the beginning of the season was finding a technique that suits them. They experimented in the early games and eventually found their rhythm with a certain formation when they held their own against a formidable rival, Heritage, about halfway through the season. Though they did not win the game, this was a huge turning point for the young athletes, as they regained last year’s stride and started building rapport. 

“Last year we came third in conference,” John Alexander, senior returning starter and co-team captain, said. “We beat the number one team in the nation, Green Hope; it was the biggest win in the school’s history.”

Chancey Wolfe, Wakefield’s Athletic Director, is an ardent advocate for the team. 

“We had a lead on Wake Forest in the last game with them for the year; we ended up losing that game 2-1,” Wolfe said. “ We’re very competitive with them; we just wound up on the losing end.”

Staff Photo by Abigail Mosher
A Wake Forest soccer player intercepts the ball from Aiden Badulis.

In fact, many of the games in the latter half of the season were close calls. The team fought tirelessly, barely earning enough points to compete in the conference tournaments. They finished with a score of 5-5 (five wins and five losses) in conference and 7-13-2 (seven wins, 13 losses and two ties) total, including out of conference. They totaled 22 points. Heritage and Wake Forest outranked Wakefield with scores of 38 and 47, respectively.

Cooper Paiva, the soccer team’s head coach, is young, positive, and new to Wakefield. 

“Their resilience is admirable,” Paiva said. “We’re optimistic we can beat any team from our conference [if we go to playoffs].” 

The team is now taking on the conference tournament. They have already played the first of three rounds, which resulted in a victory against Rolesville. If they win against Heritage, they will be sent to the conference championship and then to the state playoffs. 

“We’re a team that, although we finished third in conference, we can give teams a lot of trouble in the first round of the playoffs and even beyond,” Wolfe said. “We may get overlooked, but, to their surprise, we’re going to compete really well in the playoffs.”

 

Staff Photo by Abigail Mosher
Viveck Baht runs to receive the ball from a pass.

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