Thunder Soccer Kicks into Districts Against Panthers

Towards the end of a challenging season, the ODA boys soccer team gave an audible sigh of relief as the final whistle blew to put the finishing touch on a hard-fought senior night win with the cheering fans at their backs.

Following the 3-2 senior night victory for the ODA boys soccer team, many in and around the team have started to look ahead to the district playoffs. The team has faced some challenges on its road to Districts this season, and coaches and players have looked back to see what factors have affected the outcomes of this season. At the beginning, the big news was that Head Coach George Leicht was to be joined once again by Coach Dave Hawkes, who took the last few years to coach the girls team.

“It felt really good, actually, I hadn’t coached the boys for a long time… I’m really enjoying it right now,” says Hawkes.

Coach Hawkes began to make changes straight away. One of the first changes was a new, college level, training regiment. The new system was designed to better prepare the team for the tough schedule that awaited them.

“We’re doing college drills, and it helps us to prepare more for better teams.”

From the outside looking in, a record of 3-11-1 doesn’t appear to reflect a team playing at their best.

“It’s the season when we’ve had the hardest schedule out of any season since I’ve been here… The whole goal behind it was to make a stronger team,” says Coach Leicht.

During this season there has definitely been overall growth in the team, and the group looks to take this improved mindset into the District Playoffs. Within the team, there are differing views on the impending playoffs.

“It’ll be a hard fought game in the final if we play like we did against Venice,” says junior Jake Flanders, who went on to say that the team has enough quality to beat BCS.

“They probably will have spent their entire season knowing that they’re going to play us,” says sophomore Gus Mahler, who has his mind more on the upcoming semifinal match against BCS. He went on to say that BCS was a good team, despite the scoreline in our favor of 6-1.

The team also is ready to take its positive attitude and relaxed team environment to these upcoming challenges. Jake Flanders was new to the team this year. He praised the team environment, saying, after joining, “Now I feel good and everybody there likes me.”

“In talking to almost everyone on the team, no one is taking this negatively, everyone has been looking at it as a positive, that we are getting better,” says Leicht.

According to Coach Leicht, the boys will be entering into the toughest game of their lives if they get to the final. Everyone who has been a part of the team this year knows that all of the work put in by each member gives them a definite chance in the playoffs.

The team plays against BCS in the semifinal January 19th at 7:00 p.m. setting up a possible District Championship game January 22nd at 7:00 p.m.

“BCS are a good team. We just had a lot of things go our way last time,” says Mahler.