Whenever a team wins a championship there is the inevitable 15 minutes of smiling and posing for pictures afterward as parents and friends click away to commemorate the occasion.
If both of the soccer sectional championship games play out as expected today at Yorktown Sports Park, head coach Zach Rabenstein, assistant Steven Barnes and the rest of the Yorktown staff will be nursing sore cheeks by the time they crawl into their beds and turn out the lights.
The same staff coaches both the Yorktown boys and girls soccer programs, so Rabeinstein, Barnes and company will be at the Yorktown Sports Park for the 2 p.m. boys final and then will return for the 7 p.m. girls championship game. The Tigers will play the same opponent, Jay County, in each final, and both Yorktown teams will be in pursuit of a four-peat.
“Yorktown soccer is on a positive uprise right now, because Yorktown soccer in the past only had like three (boys) sectional titles up until my freshman year,” said senior forward/defender Robert Lloyd, who tops the 10-6 Tigers in goals scored with 18.
The Yorktown girls (10-6) won their first sectional title in 2009 with a relatively young group of players. Two of the Tigers from that 2009 club remain in seniors Abby Mansker and Jessica Extine.
“I (would) take a lot of pride in being the only person besides Jessica Extine that’s won four sectional titles in a row, especially since my freshman year was the first in Yorktown history,” said Mansker, who leads Yorktown in assists with 16. “… I don’t want to cut it short with just three.”
The Yorktown girls won their previous three sectionals with Joe Greiner as their coach. Rabeinstein and his staff only coached the boys last year, but he applied to coach both last June after Greiner resigned to focus on his family and career.
Yorktown athletic director Dan Wolfert juggled the schedule so boys and girls games overlapped only once this season, and Rabenstein has managed to arrange practices to try to devote his full attention to both teams. Some conflicts have occurred, but overall, the staff has pulled off the juggling act.
“We’ve had some issues splitting time with the boys,” Mansker said. “We’ve had to have lots of talks with coaches about giving too much time to the boys or girls, but with all of that said, I still never would’ve wanted another coach.”