The Lady Eagles varsity soccer team will not be flying far from the nest Saturday, Sept. 11 and they hope CJ fans will follow as the girls travel to Kettering to battle backyard foe Fairmont High School at 6:45 p.m. in this week's feature game.
Along with this year’s new spirit shirt, which can be worn to school by all members of the feature team the day of or before their sponsored match, the Eagles (1-3 overall) will also be showing solidarity by sporting black socks—a team tradition carried out each game day. The team also joins in cheer and song on the bus to get pumped up while traveling to games.
“We’re probably the loudest team you’ll ever hear,” said senior captain Angela Emery. Emery and fellow captains Lynsay Strahorn and Molly Weckesser make up the only senior presence on the team; however, they say it is traditions such as these that have helped the team come together both on and off the field during their four years at CJ.
Ten juniors, three sophomores, and four freshmen round out the rest of the 2010 roster. “All of us are friends on the team so that helps, but we’re very young this year and we’ve had to go through a lot of transitions,” Strahorn said. Besides youth, the team has also had to deal with injuries, something Weckesser knows all too well. She had to have major knee surgery following an indoor soccer mishap, but said she expects to return to the playing field in October.
“We play as a team, we don’t play as individuals,” Weckesser said. Among the challenges the team has faced this year, the three seniors have had to overcome playing for four different coaches in four consecutive years. This season the girls reunited with Coach Doug Lehman who formerly headed up the varsity team when they were freshman playing JV.
Despite all the changes, the team has been able to build morale through the formation of small “families” in which juniors and seniors support freshman and sophomore players by hanging signs on their lockers and giving them small gifts including candy on days of big games. The Lady Eagles also garner support from the men’s team, who arrive at games as the Bucket Boys, tooting horns and drumming on buckets to cheer on their CJ soccer counterparts.
After tying Fairmont 1-1 in the 2009 season, the girls are confident that by being the team of the week they will have an edge on their competition. “I think when you know your friends are going to come out and support you, it makes you push yourself harder both in practice and in games,” Strahorn said.
Before Saturday’s match, the team must first play their GGCL opponents, the Rams, on the road at Badin High School—their first conference game of the year. While she is excited for the feature game, Emery stressed the fact that they must take it one step at a time. “Our focus is always on the next game, we try not to look too far ahead.”