American Sheagles play their hearts out at senior night
As the season came to an end, the juniors, sophomores, and freshmen on the girl’s varsity soccer team showed their appreciation for their senior teammates Monica Dunn, Kristal Hong, Jamie Kennerk, Krupa Patel, and Rhianna Soares during their last game against Washington High School in the Sheagles nest on February 12, 2015.
To commemorate the seniors, the junior varsity team made posters that were hung all over the field, and later decorated the field with balloons, streamers, and posters too. The team made a video for them, alongside giving presents to each senior player in each of their six class period on that day.
“I’m seriously going to miss our seniors, and I kind of wish they weren’t leaving,” defender Neha Pasricha (11) said. “We gave seniors presents and decorated the field because we wanted to make their last home game as Sheagles special and something they’ll remember. It’s also traditional but not only that, it’s a way to show how much we are honored to have played with them.”
The ceremony started off as Coach Pat Mappelli introduced each player and their family members walking with them onto the field, giving a small description about the player. The underclassman formed an aisle for the seniors to walk down on the field and received a bouquet from the girls.
“The feeling is bittersweet,” Mapelli said. “On the other hand, I am excited for the seniors [since] they are moving on to a new chapter in their lives that will truly pave the way for their future. They truly have an opportunity to make a positive change in the world, wherever they end up.”
As the last senior walked down the aisle and made a line with the rest of the seniors and their family members, the audience cheered and clapped, followed by the national anthem sung by sophomore Natalie Dunn.
“Walking down with my family was great,” goalie Jamie Kennerk (12) said. “Since I had both my birth and adoptive families with me, it felt more like a parade than anything. The whole time my birth dad kept making jokes and my little brothers kept playfully fighting each other, so the whole walk was just full of laughs. It was amazing.”
Senior Rhianna Soares tore her ACL at a previous soccer game against Moreau, preventing her from playing the full duration of the game. However, her sentiments attached to soccer encouraged her to play the last game of her high school career for twenty minutes.
“Prior to senior night I actually talked to my doctor and although he didn’t recommend me playing, he never said I couldn’t,” Soares said. “When I told my coach what the doctor said he agreed that I could play in the game, but only for a limited amount of time. Although I couldn’t play the whole game, knowing that I could start and play the first ten minutes of both halves made me extremely excited going into the game.”
The seniors had the passion, determination, heart, and desire to make the game memorable. The Sheagles, excited to play the last game, started off strong as soon as the referees blew the whistle to start the game. American’s defense was closing down on Washington’s forwards fast, not allowing them time to pass. Kennerk was catching the majority of goals and center defender Monica Dunn did a phenomenal job blocking the goal. Wing defenders Kristal Hong and Krupa Patel supported and assisted Dunn in clearing the ball and taking it up the field.
“I was filled with adrenaline and wanted to do my best on the last game of the season because I wanted to make my parents, my coach, the audience, and myself proud,” Patel said. “I knew that if I did not try my best, I would be disappointed in myself, and I wanted to remember the last game in my high school career as the best game.”
Regardless of American’s 4-0 loss against Washington, they played fearlessly, with energy and heart, powered by the seniors’ last game effort.
“After the game ended I felt extremely proud of my team,” Soares said. “Although the score didn’t go in our favor the team worked extremely hard and never gave up. As captain that’s all I can expect out of the team and I couldn’t be anymore happy to have spent my last year with that group of girls.”