T he 2018-19 seasons for the varsity soccer teams at Sonora and Summerville high schools couldn’t be more different.
Summerville High School is 7-0 in Mother Lode League play, and Sonora High School is 0-7.
Still, both teams are seeking success in their final games of the season before they meet for their final league game on Feb. 7.
“Team chemistry has been great all year, despite not winning during the regular season. Spirits are still high, and we are optimistic and looking forward to our first win,” said Sonora High School Coach Josh Bailey.
Summerville High School varsity soccer coach Dave Reel credits his team’s success this season with teamwork.
But the chemistry took years to develop, and often in the absence of upperclassmen to guide the team, he said.
“We’ve been a young team for a while, but we’re starting to get mature. All the pieces are coming together,” he said.
Summerville will enter into their away game against Amador High School Thursday night with an undefeated league record, on a six-game shutout streak, and allowing one goal in the past 12 games.
The boys are feeling all the more confident following their win against Bret Harte High School on Tuesday night, Reel said.
“They are realizing their goals, they aren’t just setting goals and not attaining them,” he said. “It’s just seeing these guys being on the same page and seeing what the power of teamwork can do.”
There wasn’t any single standout player over the season, he added. Most teams never know where goals would come from and each player on the field was a force to be reckoned with.
The season still started with a hitch, however, when the team struggled to put in goals.
But a 6-0 win over Central Catholic High School on Dec. 18 was the breakthrough.
“I think once we realized a formula, a certain goal, a certain style and certain way, it’s been the most exciting. Once we figured out what it takes to score, we haven’t been shut out yet,” Reel said.
Reel said this is his 15th season as coach of Summerville High School.
Bailey, by comparison, is in his first season as coach of Sonora High School. The team hadn’t found success in the Mother Lode League, but they were laying the groundwork for experience in upcoming years, he said.
“It’s been a great experience, it’s been a learning experience. It’s been great getting to know all the kids and building a rapport with them.”
Bailey said the highlight of the season was when the team won second place in the Manteca Buffalo Cup on Dec. 7 and 8. Sonora High School won a shootout in the first round, and won 1-0 in the second round before losing in the final, he said.
“It’s the highest anyone can recall Sonora getting in that tournament,” he said.
Both teams acknowledge that the crosstown rivalry final league game will be an exciting matchup.
Summerville, which is poised to win the league with one additional win, beat Sonora High School 2-0 in their first match on Jan. 17 and will advance to the playoffs. Sonora High School will not advance to the playoffs, but can still eek out a victory, Bailey said.
“Hopefully that Thursday, we win.”
Contact Giuseppe Ricapito at (209) 588-4526 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow him on Twitter @gsepinsonora.