WHITEFISH — Last season the Whitefish girls soccer team lost in the State A championship, a tough 3-2 overtime defeat against Laurel. But coming up one game shy of a state title brought motivation this season.
The Bulldogs have scored 30 goals their last five games, averaging 388 completed passes per game and 77% of the possessions per game en route to a 7-0 record. Head coach Roland Benedict said a huge contributor to this season's success is the team’s chemistry on and off the field.
"The inclusive environment is important, but it is also if you don’t play as a team on and off the field, you can’t play the way that we want to play," Benedict said.
"This past year we have definitely built our chemistry up to be a lot better. We had a retreat over the summer and I think our bonds grew a lot tighter. I think everyone this year is more excited and motivated to get out on the field and look to win a state title," Isabelle Cooke said.
When Benedict and assistant coach Victor Kimera talk about what they want each player to leave the Bulldog program with, three words come up: respect, positivity and confidence.
"Soccer is one of those games that is like a universal language. It brings confidence to them because it gives them ability to solve problems. Even in a small setting like this, even in a fun setting like this it helps them to try and figure things out," Kimera said.
"This team has helped me learn important life skills. It has taught me how to be patient, it has taught me how to be a team player and get along with people and leadership skills and it has taught me how to work well with others," added Lucy Lowry. "This has been one of the major positives of my high school career."
This team has become exactly what Benedict has imagined it be but he also believes this is just the beginning.
"I think they have just scratched the surface of opening themselves up to a really high level of success. And it is just exciting for them to see and they are acknowledging it even more. We won 2-0, we won 9-1, 4-0 and they are not content," said Benedict.
"We are trying to take it game by game but obviously win the state title at the end but that comes with winning the next games. So we have to focus on each game and not the end result right now until we get there," Emma Barroe said.