Berkeley High Girls’ Soccer Knocked Out Of NCS First Round
Many people would say that this is the best year for the Berkeley High Yellowjackets Girls’ soccer team in the past fourteen seasons, even though their campaign was cut short by a loss in the first round of the North Coast Section tournament. This year the their team went 18–2–1 and 12–0 in the Alameda–Contra Costa Athletic League (ACCAL); their two losses were only by one goal each.They hoped that this year they would break break that fourteen–year skid, but sadly they have to wait another year to do so.
“I love coaching these girls, after getting off work I come to the field and see my girls and it just makes my day,” exclaimed Coach Suzanne Sillett, affectionately known by team members as “Suz”. When asked what the team’s greatest strengths were, Sillet replied, “We have some of the fastest forwards who also are great scorers, and on top of that we have a great defense who only gave up one goal in league play,” along with the fact that they gave up only nine total goals throughout the whole season. “This team is just so special; they work so hard on the field and practices and it shows in our record.”
This team is full of leaders, but two of them maintain a constant and vocal presence: starting goalkeeper Layla Evans and another starter, Alice Contopoulos. “We are extremely fast and skilled players with great footwork,” said Evans about her team’s talent and ability. Contopoulos also had something to say about what makes this team special. “We have a ton of young talent with three freshmen and six sophomores, many of which start.”
Berkeley seems poised to continue its success for the next few years because of all the young stars on the team. “We have an amazingly dynamic and aggressive front line, a creative and fluid midfield, a smart and strong back line, and an extremely skilled and solid keeper,” Contopoulos explained. This team will blow right by teams that aren’t paying attention, and it shows in their games. They out–scored their opponents 117 to nine this season, an unprecented goal differential.
“On top of having a great, team we also have an extremely great coach to guide us. She always pushes us to our limits so that we can reach our full potential,” Contopoulos said. Evans had even more to say about their team’s strengths. “We play our passes to feet with speed and our use of many combination plays such as wall passes and overlaps are one of our biggest strengths,” she stated. A team with all of these strengths is always great, and this year’s Yellowjackets are no exception.
All teams have weaknesses, even great ones, but these girls don’t have too many. “We struggled a lot in the beginning of the season with staying focused at practice and during warm ups for games, which made us start the games slow,” Contopoulos stated. “However, we realized we had to address the problem, so we all talked about it as a team and ever since we’ve been a lot more focused and serious,” she concluded. Teams always need some adjustments to their game, about which Evans said, “Communication is one of our weaknesses. We are not always the loudest team, which sometimes hurts us defensively. People need guidance and help to know what is around them on the field.”
This is one of the best seasons that the Varsity team has ever had. They have always been an ACCAL front–runner in the league; as a matter of fact, the Yellowjackets have not failed to win the conference for twelve years. With all of their incredible young talent, they should remain a force to be reckoned with for years to come.