Looking Back on Parker's Historic Soccer Season
Now that Parker’s soccer season concluded a little over a month ago and the dust has settled, it is a good time to take a look back at the season. Before any games were played, a team had to be assembled at a school that hadn’t had a soccer team in the last 7 years. While there was some training as early as October, there was still a lot of ground to cover before the first games kicked off in January. Despite this lack of practice, there was once again a soccer team at Parker school—assembled from a mix of those who were currently playing soccer, some who hadn’t played in awhile, and even a few that had never played competitively before.
The first two games were both on the road against two of the best teams in the division, Makua Lani and Kamehameha. While difficult, the 9-0 and 8-0 losses were important experiences for the whole team, who up until this point had a total of zero high school games under their belt. Then on a January 20th trip to Konawaena, the first win of the season was logged with a 6-1 win in the rain which included the first goal scored in seven years for Parker by one of the captains, Everett Gordon. That win instilled a lot of excitement in the team and gave credibility to the idea of making that more than a one time experience.
Despite the enthusiasm, the next game at the DI Hilo Vikings was a fairly lopsided 7-0 defeat, but did not do much to dampen spirits. Later that week was the first home game of the season against defending state champions HPA. Despite the energy and excitement, and a couple early chances, it was 3-0 by halftime and finished at 8-0. However this disappointing result did not distract from the remaining portion of the schedule and the possible run at a spot in the playoffs.
Heading into February, injuries of varying degrees become prevalent throughout the team. This was not aided by the schedule, with games on the 2nd, 4th, 7th, and 10th of that month, not to mention any possible playoff matchups that might come after that. Despite a 1-5-0 record (due to a forfeit of a December game against Waiakea), there was excitement heading into the home game on the 2nd against DI Kea’au, and this optimism was rewarded with a 9-0 win. There wasn’t much time for celebration however, before what was looking to be the most important game of the season against Honoka’a. With a crowd in the bleachers, the Bulls jumped to a 3-0 lead at halftime and were able to hang on for a 3-1 win.
With this win a playoff spot was secured and the possibility of a home playoff game was seeming more likely. Before that though was another game against Kealakehe, which was a relatively close game with the score being held to 3-0 at the end of 80 minutes. Despite the loss, it was still a highly celebrated result in a game that included some of the best performances of the season from many of the players. Three days later we were back at home for the final regular season game, senior night against Christian Liberty. The pressure was on to get the win and clinch home-field advantage for the opening playoff round, but the score was even 2-2 at halftime. The second half, however, was more controlled and saw two goals netted for a 4-2 win.
With that result, a rematch was set against Honoka’a in the BIIF quarterfinals to take place on the 15th. It is safe to say that the matchup was obsessed over by its contestants right up to the opening whistle, and was not lacking in energy or competition. Despite the best efforts from both offenses, and a few near chances, the score remained 0-0 through the whole first half as well as the second, sending the game into overtime. The dam finally broke with successful goals from senior captains Everett Gordon and Lukas Dommer in the first 10-minute half, which proved to be enough to seal the win with a final score of 2-1 (sending Parker to the BIIF semifinals).
The obstacle standing in the way of a spot in the BIIF final, as well as the state tournament, was another familiar adversary:HPA. Despite the acknowledged slim odds of actually pulling it off, it was impossible not to dabble in the fantasies of what could happen with a win, and for the first 30 minutes those fantasies seemed to be creeping closer to possible realization. The game still sat at 0-0, and, despite most of the game being spent in a desperate defensive position, a couple attacking opportunities had been presented. Then HPA was able to open the scoring off of a corner kick, making the score 1-0, which would last to halftime. Despite not yet being out of the game, exhaustion finally caught up to the team, and the final result of 5-0 marked the end of the run.
Despite the loss, the season was still a massive success. To start a team from scratch and then come within one game of the state tournament in its first season is a great result. Looking forward to next season, there is a great amount of hope despite losing many seniors. If you are interested in joining the team next year, off-season practices will start soon!