Girls’ soccer gets an inspiring assist

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After a summer of inspiring play at the hands of the U.S. women’s national soccer team, players—both male and femalewere scrambling to get back out on the field and show their skills. Locally, at a soccer pitch drawn inside a baseball field, female Highlander athletes are displaying the same qualities as star players such as Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan: a drive to succeed, a desire to be the best and a hunger for victory.

Led by senior captains Estrella Ortiz,  Kathy Ortiz and Brianna Jorgenson, the CHHS varsity girls’ soccer team got off to a good start this fall and never looked back. The team, backed by outstanding defenders Kathy Ortiz (12), and Alison Reynolds  (11), with contributions of a skillful midfielder Jenna Ovillo (12) and wonderful forwards Lydia Kennedy (9), Jenny Inamagua (10) won a very important game early in the season: 5-0 against St. Paul Johnson. Unfortunately, Illyssa Inamagua got injured requiring her to be out for the rest of the season.   Primarily, miscommunication between the back line and midfielders lead to the girls suffering consistent losses. 

While team morale was low, head coach and social studies teacher Ms. Kristen Sinicariello had the perfect plan to build everyone back up.

“The girls on the team are positive in general and enjoy being together, “ Sinicariello said. “I think making practices fun and focusing on our small triumphs, even though they don’t always result in a win, helps the team stay positive.”

Coach Sinicariello’s positivity and dedication to the team shined when she took the team to the Minnesota United FC game on September 7, 2019. The Loons faced a Liga MX team, FC Pachuca, in a friendly match. The varsity team was excited because it could be a time for bonding and eventually just forget a little about the unfavorable losses they had experienced. It was also a chance to see how a professional team plays, and hopefully they could learn how they deal with losses as well as new and positive ways to improve.

“It was a wonderful experiencesomething I haven’t done before. It was a mixture of emotions that I felt from the kick-off of the game until the last whistle from the referee,” Maria Menera (12) said. “The most exciting part of the night was when we got to take pictures with [Minnesota United] midfielder Chase Gasper.”

The girls had a wonderful experience at the game, held at the recently opened Allianz Field. United and Pachuca tied 2-2; the players came away from the night a closer-knit team. 

“It was funI had a great time with my sister and friends,” Cristal Menera (9) said. “There was even some friendly arguing between me and my friends about which team we were supporting,” 

Energized by the experience of watching a professional team, the team faced the rest of their match-ups with a new energy. The Tri-Metro Conference, however, proved to be quite tough; the Hylanders were dealt shutout losses at the hands of Fridley, St. Anthony, Visitation and DeLaSalle. Nevertheless, the girls ended their regular season strong, playing Minneapolis Roosevelt to a close 3-1 loss on senior night. Afterwards, the team’s eight seniors received gifts.

“I’m really going to miss being apart of the girls soccer team because we are a huge family,” Jorgenson said. “Even if we don’t do well, we all are able to come together as one team.” 

Despite the tough losses, the CHHS girls’ varsity soccer team represents what true Hylanders should be: positive in the face of adversity with a never-say-die attitude. With a can-do attitude, the girls stepped onto the field with high energy to face Brooklyn Center in sections on Thursday October 10, 2019. The girls played very hard until the last whistle of the complementary time. Going into overtime, they had various chances to score but couldn’t bury it. The game was full of excitement because the game remained 1-1 into overtime, making them go to a penalty shootout, where Brianna Jorgenson stopped two shots and scored the winning penalty kick, giving the girls the pass into the quarterfinal of the section tournament. 

The quarterfinal match was October 12, 2019 against Breck, and unfortunately the girls couldn’t end their plays against the 4-1-0 team. Breck’s girls crashed the net multiple times and ended the season for the CHHS girls with 0-9 on the scoreboard. It was an unfortunate end to the postseason, but the girls’ varsity soccer team never quit and kept on going, showing what a true Hylander should be.