Senior night smackdown

Park defeated by Orono

Maren Wilsey and Anna Williams

Despite setbacks the team had faced this season surrounding injuries and illnesses, the boy’s soccer team entered their match against Orono, the first seed in their conference. Park lost 2-3 after a grueling overtime with back and forth goals Sept. 6.

According to assistant coach Pat Hartman, the team had a very positive performance after going through a string of challenging games. 

“We’ve had a rough couple of weeks, our matches haven’t gone the way we wanted — we’ve been dealing with a lot of injuries and (illnesses),” Hartman said. “I felt like we played better than we have in a while — the boys had a good mindset (going into the game).”

Senior captain Amanuel Shetaye said since Orono was an undefeated team, the attitude heading into the game was much more determined than in the past.

“We took it more seriously than when you play some other weaker teams. The games that we tied and lost — maybe we didn’t take them as seriously. This made sure that we took it seriously and played our hardest,” Shetaye said. “We really wanted to win (and) it showed.”

Sophomore captain Johnny Ryan, who made the first goal of the game off a penalty kick in the last eight seconds of the half, said the achievement felt very rewarding. 

“It felt (really good). That was my first time scoring in high school,” Ryan said. “It was super fun. I was nervous, to be honest. But it was fun — it’s fun to score.”

During halftime, senior Eli Puchner said it was nice for seniors to reconnect with their families, who supported them throughout their years on the team.

“(Senior night) was good,” Puchner said. “My parents were really happy. My dad might have cried a little bit, but it was a good experience.”

Shetaye said the number of seniors also contributed to the enjoyment of the night.

“We had a lot of seniors — like 19 or something,” Shetaye said. “It was a little different than most years. It was still fun though.” 

Ryan said though the outcome of the game was disappointing, he felt that their performance was promising. 

“It went pretty well. I don’t think we were expecting to be as close with (Orono) as we were,” Ryan said. “It definitely is good for us to realize that we can compete with good teams, especially when going into sections.”

Hartman said the team is feeling hopeful for its final game before heading into sections, which will determine their standing for the tournament. 

“(We’re feeling) pretty good, pretty confident. (Saturday) we play Washburn — it’d be really great if we got a good result against them,” Hartman said. “We’re hoping we can get up in the top half of the seedings so we can get a home match, but it depends on how we do (then).”

Park boy’s soccer will begin their sections games Thursday, Oct. 13.