Making History

May 6, 2013
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I was a freshman in high school, 14 years old and could recall my eight grade year just how excited I was to play high school soccer. It was scary at first being so young with girls so old and to top it off I was lucky enough to be placed on varsity with juniors and seniors as a baby freshman. From the beginning it felt as though I had joined a family, it felt like I had 15 older sisters there on that team. We joked and laughed and messed with each other but pushed each other to be better. From the beginning we could tell it was going to be a good season. We had so many strong players, as well as strong leaders. We all loved the sport and worked our hardest to win our games. Our season from the beginning was record breaking for Dixie itself. People were shocked to see Dixie Heights High School girl’s soccer making any mark on the field but we were winning games and beating teams we hadn’t beaten in years. I was unaware of the impressiveness of our progress because I had no previous experience with high school soccer and wasn’t sure how things went. All I knew was it was edging towards the end of the season and our most important games were coming up. The district and regional tournament was the most important part of our whole season and we all had high hopes and expectations for our team. It no longer mattered who we had beaten before in regular season or how many games we won or lost, these teams were thirsty to win and we had to be too.

District games had been a breeze; we beat teams left and right to win the district title. We were very proud of that accomplishment no doubt but our eyes were on that shiny regional trophy. Dixie girl’s soccer hadn’t won regionals since 1991. It had been over 20 years since the girls soccer team had gotten a prestigious plaque placed outside of the gym on the wall and we knew it was our time.
We had started our regional games playing teams such as Simon Kenton and Ryle, two teams we had rivalry with in the past and we beat them head with scores like 2 to 0 and 4-1. Our real challenge though would be St. Henry. We had both made it past quarter and semi finals and were to play each other in finals for the regional title. We could see the win, we were almost there. We had never worked harder in a season in our lives and we had one more barrier we had to and could overcome. St. Henry’s team was last year’s state champions, and although extremely intimidating and having lost to them in regular season 2-0 we had high hopes for this game. The week before our final we went and got the word out to our school to come to the game and prepared with hard encouraging practices. This is what we had worked for all season and this was going to be our time.

It was game day. Luckily we had drawn to play at Dixie on our home field. We went through our usual warm-up routine but then our coach called us down to the locker room inside and we listened to him talk. Our coach Curt always had a way of lightening the mood but at the same time getting us fired up. His pep talk was funny but encouraging and he made us realize how hard we had worked all season just for this moment. We huddled together as a team and you could feel the energy in the room. WE were ready.

We walked out on the field weary but confident and we weren’t going to let the past lost against St. Henry determine the outcome of this game. The stands were full and we couldn’t believe the support we were receiving from our school. The whistle blew and we were off. It was only three minutes in to the first half and I received the ball on the outside. I guided it down the line beating the girl on the left side and struck the ball hoping it sailed high across the post for my teammate Ali to head or kick in. It was too far though and I turned around thinking it sailed over the goal or the goalie had gotten it. Little did I know the ball had slipped past the keepers hands and sailed right in to the top right corner. I couldn’t believe it. The first three minutes of our game I had scored and it was the best feeling in the world. My teammates ran over to me and hugged and jumped on me it was amazing. Our confidence was boosted big time but we had to be cautious. The game went on for about 20 more minutes and St. Henry’s all time leading scorer had snuck past the defense and slipped the ball in to the corner of the goal. It was definitely an eye opener for us and we quickly went back to realizing that this game wasn’t going to be as easy as we expected. About five minutes later St.Henry had scored another goal making the score 2-1 them. We were losing and it was devastating. Anyone who knows soccer knows how hard it is to score a goal in the first place and how much harder it is to score one when you’re losing. We fought hard for the remainder of the half but we couldn’t seem to find the back of the net and the half ended 2-1 St. Henry.

It was half time and everyone was so encouraging. We received pep talks from our coaches and spent a good time cheering each other up and getting each other motivated. We ran out on the field in the second half inspired and believing in each other. It wasn’t long before we were fighting for the ball in our half. Jamie, who was one of our main defender, had gone forward in an attacking mode. Our forward Ali passed her the ball splitting the defense and she struck the ball hard on the ground right past St. Henry’s keeper. We were all so excited as we ran over to Jamie and embraced her with hugs. We were coming back. It was now tied 2-2 and we were determined as ever. The half continued on and as it went both teams had various chances of goals. We were nearing the end of the game and both teams were exhausted. There was about 30 seconds left and we could see overtime in our future. There was one more chance left for us in the game and I was given the ball on the left side. I did what I always did and started sprinting down the line getting closer and closer to the 18 yard box. Right as I was about to chip the ball up and over the defense to our forwards I felt a huge blow to the side of my body. I was flattened to the ground, the wind knocked out of me, my knees searing with pain and my head throbbing from hitting the ground. That was it. That was our last chance. I felt as I had failed my team. I looked up though to see a few of my teammates standing around me, and I wondered why the game had stopped. Having been completely out of it, I finally realized that a foul had been called and we were given a foul shot right outside the eighteen. I was ecstatic; we were given one final chance. Our center defender Kayla stepped up to the ball. These types of shots had been her specialty and we all had high hopes. She picked up the ball and placed it on the turf as perfectly as possible then took a few steps back. The whole crowd was holding their breath as was I. She shot the ball as hard as she could and it sailed right to the finger tips of the keeper. She tipped the ball but it still went in to the goal and hit the top of the net. At that moment everyone was screaming. The ref hand signaled a goal and we were running around like maniacs jumping on each other and smiling. We grabbed the ball from inside of the net and placed it back on the center circle. There was still a few seconds left in the game. The ref blew his whistle for St. Henry to kick off then a few seconds later blew the familiar three whistles to end the game. Everybody ran out on to the field and jumped on each other. It was a picture perfect moment and we were all so happy.

The next day sports headlines were booming. Everyone was so surprised! Dixie girls’ soccer had made history and I couldn’t have been happier to be a part of it. For years after and to this day I walk by the plaque and look at it and remember the journey me and my team went on to get there. How we proved that the hard work we did paid off and beat the reigning state champions.

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