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Varsity Girls Soccer: A Dragons Team on Fire

By: Hezekiah Smithstein

The 2018 Design Tech Soccer team proved to be one of the best sports teams in d.tech history by almost going undefeated. 

Coach Louis Skyriotis with the girls varsity team. Photo by Evan Tung

The Design Tech High School varsity girls soccer team has been the team to beat this season in the Private School Athletic League (PSAL). The Dragons, under coach Louis Skyriotis, have roared to an 9-1-3 (wins, losses, ties) league record while being undefeated in their first eleven games of the season. This strong start has propelled them into second place in the PSAL, behind Latino College Preparatory Academy. Latino College Prep, at the 11-2-0,  is the only team who has won a game against them this season.

When asked about their success so far, junior Ally Shirman, midfielder, attributes the success to optimism and steady improvement: “We were pretty good last season too, considering it was our first year and [we didn’t know] each other and how we would bond. But this year, we have a good group dynamic, and we work well together.”

Photo by Evan Tung.

The girls have varying levels of experience beyond last year, with several having previously played for other club teams before joining d.tech soccer such as the American Youth Soccer Organization. Why did they decide to play soccer? For some, soccer has been a passion that they have pursuing since a young age. For others, it is something they decided to try or were encouraged to try by their parents, and ended up enjoying it and deciding to stay. Sydney Lo, junior, said about her soccer career: “I started when I was 5 or 6. I only started playing because my parents put me into it, but I did enjoy it so I decided to continue playing.”

Passions or experiments aside, pretty much all of them can agree that it is a great way to make running and exercise fun. “I don’t consider myself a runner, but somehow having a game [makes] the running [not] really matter to me anymore. Soccer makes running, in general, fun. I don’t like doing track or jogging, but soccer makes it enjoyable for me,” Shirman says.

Their love for soccer has definitely shown through, with a stunning 57 goals scored on the season. This is a stark contrast to the number of goals they have allowed scored against them, a mere eleven.

Whitney Wisnom, a senior and forward on the team, has been a nightmare for the back line of any team, having contributed to 34 of those 57 goals this season. Lara Thornley, a sophomore at d.tech, has scored 8 goals with 5 assists. Close behind are Victoria Napier with 6 goals, and Kate Hayashigatani with 2 goals and 7 assists. It has been a  combination of these stellar strikers and a stalwart defense that have been what has resulted in the highest winning percentage in d.tech sports history.

Their winning ways have come despite a number of struggles they’ve had to overcome this season.Izabella Guerrero, a junior with two goals and a league leading nine assists suffered a concussion during one of the games and had to go to emergency care facilities. The rest of the team have also suffered various lesser injuries throughout the season, including Jasmin Texidor, a junior and defender, who had two sprained fingers taped together. In addition, the Dragons have had several games where they have found themselves short-handed, player-wise. As busy as d.tech students are, the team is hoping to have more players able to show up to upcoming games, especially if the team  makes the playoffs.

Members of the soccer team are excited at how well they have been doing, but believe that it is important to continue to improve. One thing they are hoping to strengthen is their bond as a team. “We don’t do any team bonding, outside of practice and games. If we have classes together, then we’ll talk to each other, but outside of that we never really see each other,” Lo says. Texidor also says she believed there should be more team bonding activities, saying, “I saw [the girls basketball team] at Jeffreys once and was like ‘Aww they do stuff, we should do stuff!’ We like each other, but we need more bonding.”

Team bonding or no, this year for the d.tech varsity girls soccer team has been a year to remember. The team posted a fantastic record, at 9-1-3, with the fewest losses in their entire league. Unfortunately, the team with the most wins is the only one guaranteed a spot in a playoffs bracket featuring numerous schools from all around the area. Therefore, Latino College Prep got the spot and d.tech was considered amongst over a hundred other schools, of which they were not selected due to other factors such as the league they were in.

Through their ups and downs, this Dragon team posted what is one of the best records in d.tech sports history. They enjoyed themselves, worked together, and scored lots of goals. This is just the beginning of a dragons girls varsity team roaring to life- watch out for them bringing the heat next season!

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