by Jonny Levenfeld
Last year, while girls’ soccer rode an undefeated regular season all the way to a State Championship, boys’ soccer fell short of the Tournament in what proved to be yet another frustrating season for the program.
After winning a preseason tournament this year at the Elite 8 Soccer Academy, a camp featuring eight teams from around the State, the Tigers had seemingly put last year’s struggles behind them. However, the team, 4-11-2, was once again eliminated from postseason contention after being plagued by a slow start.
“Coming into the season, I saw true potential in the team,” said senior Balazs Bonyhay, a captain with seniors Rohan Doherty and Will Gerard. “There were just some games where we couldn’t pull it together.”
Bonyhay said he was impressed as anyone with the team’s early results, so understanding what exactly went wrong for the Tigers is still difficult for him.
“The team showed great skill and effort from the beginning,” he said. “I have no idea what got in the way of us reaching our goal of the Tournament.”
For most teams, including boys’ soccer, qualifying for states is the primary goal from the outset. How, then, is the team supposed to muster motivation for the rest of the season after falling short of its goal?
For Doherty, matchups against league rivals such as Brookline, Framingham, and South are enough inspiration. “All of those games have bragging rights attached and sentimental value,” he said. “They are huge for both the players and the program.”
Doherty also said that seniors in particular are aware of how much meaning these last few games have.
“For some of us, it will be the last time playing in a soccer jersey for a competitive team,” he said. “[The seniors] all realize this and the feeling is just beginning to sink in. That feeling has made all of us fight even harder.”
According to Bonyhay, finding a reason to compete and play hard has never been an issue for him because of his appreciation for the game.
“I never need motivation to play soccer because I love the sport,” he said.
Although their record might indicate otherwise, the Tigers’ season has not completely lacked triumph. The team tied 14th ranked Brookline 1-1 Tuesday and today defeated crosstown rival South 3-1.
Nonetheless, the Tigers’ inability to string together a series of wins, especially when facing the prospect of elimination, has hurt them.
Both Bonyhay and Doherty have every intention for the team to finish the season on a high note, and, as Bonyhay described, “leave a positive legacy behind.”
The Tigers close out their season facing undefeated Needham at home tomorrow.