Setting and scoring goals: Varsity soccer begins season with ‘remarkable start’

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Photo credit: Archer Athletics

Archer’s varsity soccer team poses for a group picture before a game against Brentwood School. “It’s a fun mix of people for sure. [I like getting to know] people I don’t usually get to know because they’re in different grades,” Childers said. “[One of my goals is] continuing to connect with the whole team and become a closer team.”

By Nina Sperling , Staff Reporter

There’s a buzz of energy on the back field, the place where Archer’s varsity soccer team practices and plays their home games. The team started off the season with a win against Windward School, a first ever for Archer, a 9-0 win against Brentwood School and a tie with Notre Dame High School, whose team is two divisions higher. Despite several team members being injured, the team has won nine out of 11 games played thus far.

Kim Smith is the head coach of varsity soccer as well as the Director of Athletics. This is her 10th year coaching at Archer.

“At the beginning of the year, as a team, we set our goals for the season. One of those goals was to be undefeated in our preseason, and to have shutouts. And so, we were able to accomplish some of those goals that we had,” Smith said. We’ve got great talent on our team, and great leadership from our returners, and so I have pretty high expectations for this team.”

Sophomore Cate Childers has been playing soccer for four years at Archer and outside of Archer for 12 years. This year, she plays the attacking midfield position. Childers shared her perspective on the season so far.

“Winning tighter games, like the Windward game we played … is always really fun because it’s more nerve wracking,” Childers said. “Then we tied against Notre Dame. It was really fun to play. Then … they end[ed] up tying in the last couple minutes, but it was really fun throughout the game.”

Last year, the varsity soccer team had a modified season due to COVID-19. Before the winter break, the team no longer had to wear masks during their games or practices. However, due to the recent surge of the Omicron variant, they have to wear masks while they are playing in practices and games. Additionally, while Archer switched to learning on Zoom for four days after the winter break, two varsity soccer games were canceled.

A common theme that Smith, Childers and junior Alyssa Ponrartana commented on was the connection and bond between the team members. Ponrartana, who plays the midfield attacking position, spoke to the “positive” spirit of the team.

“There’s a really big family spirit. So, everyone’s obviously really excited after we win a game,” Ponrartana said. “I love Archer soccer. And there’s something about it that’s really, really special. We are like a family; we have certain traditions and everyone is supportive and everyone has a lot of energy which is always great.” 

Similar to Ponrartana’s views on the connection between the team, Smith gave a lot of praise to the team this year. She said she appreciates the  the senior captains, and the leadership they have shown in helping to create moments for connection.

“It’s such a dynamic team. They’re so exciting to watch. We’ve got great speed and they’re just great. It’s so much fun to watch and to coach,” Smith said. “Ali Aragon, Gabby Wolf and … Isabella Specchierla — they’ve been really doing a great job, connecting the team and bringing them together at the start of the season.”

One aspect of sports that many team members appreciate is meeting and getting to know the new team members that span across many different grade levels.

“It’s a fun mix of people for sure; people I don’t usually get to know because they’re in different grades and getting to know the freshmen has been fun because I don’t really know any of them,” Childers said. 

Along with advancing to the playoffs and winning CIF, the goal that many team members have is connecting and supporting their teammates so that they can continue to be undefeated.

“I’m fully enjoying the season so far,” Smith said. “I’m looking forward to seeing where this team will go.”