Soccer ahead of curve


photo by Nora Godikson

Midfielder Muhammad Ali dribbles down the field during a match against Oviedo. The team won the game, 3-1.

Despite the departure of multiple starters from last year’s district runner-up team, boys soccer has continued its winning ways and looks to make another postseason run.

The team got off to a hot start, winning five of their first six matches, with blowout wins against East River, 7-0, and Winter Springs, 8-0 and a victory against Oviedo, 3-1. Their lone loss came in a tightly contested match with conference leader, and local rival, Seminole, 2-1.

“We’re rivals who have respect for each other,” defender Logan Phipps said. “But once we are on the field the ‘respect’ goes out the window.”

Though Seminole remains undefeated and ahead of the team, Phipps is confident that they will be there at the end of the year competing for the state crown.

“We have very good team spirit,” Phipps said. “I think we have a good chance this year.”

The team’s latest victory came on the road against Lake Howell, where forward Park Wickizer and midfielder Micheal Graue each scored a goal apiece while midfielder Ethan Keating and defender David Dickerson each earned an assist.

“It was a very great game,” Chin said. “We were able to keep our composure, even when things got ugly.”

As of the Lake Howell match, Wickizer, Snoap, Graue and midfielder Muhammad Ali are tied for the most goals on the team with five. Midfielder Alex Chin is right behind them, with four goals, but he leads assists with a commanding 10. To put this in perspective, the player with the second-most assists is midfielder Michael Lynch, with three.

“I think of myself as a very unselfish person, so I just see joy in other people scoring goals,” Chin said.

It is not just Chin with fancy footwork.

“Our team is one of the best passing teams in the conference,” Snoap said.

Though, Snoap still notices some room for improvement.

“Once we get more chemistry our passing will be really fluid and we’ll move it up from top to bottom,” Snoap said.

Like Snoap, Lynch is also placing emphasis on teambuilding.

“We need to play a lot more to get used to each other,” Lynch said.

This fact isn’t lost on new starters, like Phipps.

“We have very good team spirit this year,” Phipps said. “We’ll get better the longer we play together.”

Only two starters retuned from last year, Snoap and Lynch, but many current starters, like Chin, were watching last year from the sidelines.

“Now that I have the opportunity to start I feel like I can make the team better and I’m going to do everything in my power to help us win,” Chin said.

With three sophomores in the lineup, the team is looking to its youth to get it farther than before.

“Give it a few more games,” Snoap said. “I think we can be one of the top teams in the state.”

The team’s next match is at Lyman on Friday, Dec. 15, a road rematch with Seminole will be on Dec. 20, and districts will begin on Jan. 29.