The victories were very real

Scoreboard doesn’t show how far Watertown High girls’ soccer team came

Tessa Collins, Raider Times staff

At the beginning of the summer, we all felt the dread. After losing 11 seniors — practically all of our starters — our prospects looked weak.

With only three seniors on the Watertown High girls’ soccer team, and with more coaches than players on the bench, there certainly was cause for unease. But what happened in the season to come surprised all of us; the momentum we had was unforeseeable. The season to come would end up being the best season any of us have experienced.

With 13 players, 14 losses, 2 ties, and 13 goals all season, it’s hard to believe that seniors Nina Vosbigian, Becky Riendeau, and I had a senior year we won’t forget.

The WHS girls’ soccer program has always struggled, but it has recently started to turn around. The team made the tournament three years in a row, and once made it to the semifinals. We ended the program’s more than a decade-long losing streak. We finally posed a threat to other teams.

Every single girl on the varsity team has seen “Hoosiers” at least once — our coach strongly recommended we watch it and referenced it almost every practice. The movie, depicting an Indiana high school basketball team with only seven players, reflects our lack of subs but our abundance of determination. The movie taught us that it doesn’t matter how big our Division 1 and Division 2 opponents were compared with our small Division 3 team; there’s only 11 players on the field at a time, and that’s what counts.

We started off our season as most people would have expected, losing by several goals every game and not scoring any points. But, as the season progressed, we changed that. We started to close the gap against Division 1 and Division 2 teams. We lost by fewer goals and started to score.

Sarah Lampasona and the other captains worked to keep the team’s morale high. Doing things together, such as having pasta dinners before every game and TP-ing our coach’s house, helped us all become closer and gave us a team chemistry that helped us during games.

Even though our record wasn’t strong, we still had a chance this season to make the tournament for the fourth year in a row.

Playing Stoneham in our second nonleague game was something we had looked forward to for weeks. We were leading, 3-2,  with less than two minutes left in the game. However, one bad call changed the course of our season: the referee called a handball — which never actually happened — right outside of the 18-yard box. Stoneham scored, tying the game and obliterating our chance in the tournament.

Although it’s hard to see given our record, we were a good team. We’re in a very competitive league for soccer, but we matched our opponents well. We played until the last second of every game in hopes of finally getting what we deserved: a win.

People who weren’t on the team can’t possibly grasp our belief in ourselves. How can a team with barely any subs ever be successful? Why do they keep trying if they lose every game?

What they didn’t know was that, as a team, we got better and better every day. Our notorious bad luck prevented us from making our goals a reality, and that frustrated us. So we worked harder, and we got closer to winning each game.

We didn’t listen to people who assumed that we were bad, because we knew that wasn’t the truth.

Yes, it was frustrating that we could never have proof of our abilities, but we knew we had them. We kept on being Hoosiers and worked with what we had.

–Dec. 9, 2014–