On Thursday, Feb 4, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas women’s varsity soccer team prepared for their long-awaited playoffs to begin. With the Eagles qualifying for eligibility, they strived to earn more victories and win a state title.
The first game of the playoffs struck at 7 p.m. at Coral Springs High School against the Coral Springs Colts. The matchup would be the district semifinals of the playoffs, so the stakes were high for the competitive Eagles.
The Eagles had a few weeks of practice before the playoffs, and the team was more than ready to step onto the field. With this motivation and time to rest, the team was ready for their next opponent in a season full of challenges.
“We mentally and physically prepared for the postseason,” forward Emily Burke (14) said. “We have learned from our past games and have used those experiences to better ourselves for the game.”
Since the Eagles won District Championships last season, they had high expectations for Thursday’s game, as well as the playoffs.
Throughout the season, the Eagles had won by large margins in almost every match, so the team had no doubt that they could compete and take down the Colts.
As the first whistle blew, the Eagles took control of the field. Even though they were playing at an away stadium, the team had no problem finding space and getting close to taking the lead.
“We worked really hard. We knew Coral Springs would be a tough competitor, so we went over set plays and the ways to be most successful,” forward Molly Conn (12) said.
The Eagles’ rigid preparation proved successful, as their consistency and team chemistry helped to work around the opposing Colts.
This allowed for the Eagles to run a tight defense, communicate in order to efficiently cover ground and assist one another, and most importantly, score goals.
The Eagles went on to continue their strong efforts, scoring eight goals before the end of the game. Ultimately, five players of the Eagles offense contributed with goals, including Mia Engelbart (10), Raquel Alvarado (2), Francesca Lozano (7), Emily Burke (14), and Molly Conn (12).
“I played with all I had, and I think the opportunity to play in the district championship was my primary incentive,” Burke said. “I worked hard to score two goals, which helped contribute to my team’s success.”
Conn and Burke showed their talents once again, as the duo devastated the Colts by scoring a combined five of the eight goals for the Eagles. Conn scored three times and Burke scored twice.
“I knew I was playing against a good team, so my teammates and I needed to step up and play well,” Conn said.
In addition to the Eagles’ impressive offense, the team had a commanding defense as well, bringing the eight-goal lead to a shutout of 8-0.
The team’s notable work ethic and strong relationships with one another pushed them towards victory, and they are proving to be a top contender entering the next round of playoffs.
“We all played extremely well and were in sync with each other. I hope we can carry that over to the finals,” Conn said.
As the Eagles continue their ongoing push towards a championship, their focus is always on the next game ahead and how it can be won.
“We’re all looking forward to the next game, and we will maintain our momentum by again preparing mentally and physically. We only focus on one game at a time, and becoming back-to-back district champs is what motivates everyone,” Burke said.
The Eagles are now focused on preparing for their next game, which will be on Monday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 8, in which they return to Coral Springs High to face the Coral Glades Jaguars in the District Finals.