Every time the season ends for a coach, it’s hard to put into words how proud he or she is of their team.
Following Oshkosh North’s 3-0 loss to Green Bay Southwest in a WIAA Division 2 sectional semifinal Thursday night, head coach Sohaila Akhavein had nothing but encouraging words for her squad.
“They just have to keep their head up, they fought through a lot of adversity, this team, throughout many years of soccer and they have to be proud of their accomplishments,” she said. “This game doesn’t determine us not moving on, unfortunate results happen.”
Akhavein didn’t rattle off positive words to her team following the loss to make them feel better, because she felt like her team actually outplayed the third-seeded Trojans for most of the game. But in soccer, sometimes unfortunate things happen.
The Trojans — which beat North 4-0 earlier this season — scored one goal in the first half and two early in the second half, but the head coach felt like a couple of those goals weren’t necessarily their fault.
“They scored two goals off something we couldn’t control and they are what they are,” Akhavein said.
Green Bay Southwest scored the game’s first goal in the 15th minute, after Paige Pierce gathered the ball on the right side of the box after a fight for the ball, and was able to find an opening in the left side in the net.
Then in the second half, almost three minutes in, Pierce scored on a breakaway to make it 2-0. Kaitlyn Schuurmans made it 3-0 in the 52nd minute when she kicked in a goal on a free kick, sailing it right over Jacie Verstegen’s head.
That last goal was nearly untouchable. Just an outstanding shot.
“I think we had a great game defensively, we didn’t allow them to take that many shots and that’s what we talked about before the game,” Akhavein said. “They tested us a couple of times but not allowing them to play into the box was something we had talked about and defensively we did better than them and gave them fewer opportunities.”
As good as the Spartans played defensively, even if it was a shutout, the Spartans failed to score once again — a problem they have had this season.
“Overall throughout the season it’s been up and down battle, we’ve been able to score and we haven’t,” Akhavein said. “Unfortunately we weren’t able to finish tonight but I’m proud of this team and they accomplished so much in the last two years especially, back to back regional championships, they have to be proud of it and I know they are.”
The few missed chances came right after Southwest scored its first goal. In the 16th minute, the Spartans nearly scored on a corner kick and in the 17th minute, Madison Smith had a shot blocked, as Southwest’s goalie Toni Champion just got a hand on it.
And one minute later, Mikayla Ross had a shot just miss right of the net.
Champion had an outstanding game for the Trojans, saving all 10 shots. For the Spartans, Verstegen finished with four saves.
The Spartans say goodbye to four seniors, all whom Akhavein will miss dearly.
“They have a lot of passion for the game, they give everything they got every time they step foot on the field, some of them play more than others but anytime they set foot on the field they are proud to be a member of this team,” Akhavein said. “They put in the work and this entire program wouldn’t be the same without those four.”
G.B. Southwest…1 2 — 3
Oshkosh North…0 0 — 0
First half: GBSW — Paige Pierce, 14:25.
Second half: GBSW — Pierce, 47:28. GBSW — Kaitlyn Schuurmans, 51:55.
Saves: G.B. Southwest (Toni Champion) 10, Oshkosh North (Jacie Verstegen) 4.
Alex Wolf: (920) 426-6661; email@example.com; on Twitter @Wolfa07