Varsity soccer teams reign victorious over hometown rivals

Both soccer teams prevail over Saxons in rivalry games

Girls and boys varsity soccer traveled to Langley yesterday for back to back games. The balmy weather and excitement from both sides made for a great day to compete, and the McLean soccer program showed up for the challenge.

The girls soccer match was fought first, involving a double overtime battle ending in a 2-1 victory. While the overall energy of the game was that of high intensity, the team’s motivation in the second quarter was faltered by an injury of their first string goalkeeper, freshman Aimee Abraham. However, the energy brought by senior goalkeeper Eliza Hager lifted the spirits of the team, as she did not let in a single shot. 

“Our defense [also] played great with Hager stepping up when our goalie got hurt,” head coach Robert Bouchard said. “I can’t ask for anything else [other] than a senior who was wanting to be on the bench for part of the season and making the most of it. She made a really impactful performance tonight, and we couldn’t have done it without her.”

Senior center forward Izzy Andreoli had a standout game, scoring both of McLean’s goals and playing a key role in pressuring the Saxon defense. Her first goal was early in the first half, giving the Highlanders a lead that they were able to maintain until deep into the second half. 

“I scored the first goal and it felt really exciting because it was one of my personal goals to score against Langley,” Andreoli said. 

With a tie at 1-1 going into overtime, Andreoli’s second goal of the game, a tactical kick from left field, was the deciding factor that put the Highlander’s ahead of the Saxons until the end.

“I got a really good assist and I knew it was going to be the last chance, so I fought hard to put the ball in the back of the net,” Andreoli said. “It felt so euphoric and unreal because I’ve dreamt of this since I was a freshman.”

The athletes rushed the field as soon as the clock ran out, celebrating their victory by jumping around Andreoli before going to shake hands with the defeated Saxons.

“We always play until the whistle blows because it’s not over until it’s over,” said Talia Bolden, junior and center midfielder. “Izzy’s goal gave us a lot of confidence that helped us to fight until the end of the game.”

McLean’s desire to win was palpable through their energy on and off the field. The forwards worked seamlessly together, as the goals were scored on fast breaks up the field. 

“We all want to beat Langley, but everyone also wants to do this to prove that we are the better overall team,” Hager said. “The best [mentality] going into a rivalry game is to play simple, play well, and play our game. That’s when we can really win and do [our best.]”

As the girls team left the field in a clump of excitement from their win, the boys team took the field and warmed up for another intense match that would end in an epic 2-0 victory for McLean. 

“This is the best team we’ve got right here,” head coach Leland Jameson said. “A lot of hard work, a lot of teamwork, a lot of trust in our brothers and non-stop pressure, non-stop will to dominate [ensured this win].”

The game was electric for the entirety of the match with every player giving their all to take control of the ball. The McLean vs. Langley rivalry always provides an edge of fierce competition and aggression, as both teams are determined to best the other.

“We were getting fouled all day long. We got no calls from the referees, absolutely nothing, but not once did we let up, we kept going to the target,” Jameson said. 

Despite the tenacity with which Langley played, McLean’s goal within the first five minutes and perfectly executed assisted goal in the second half matched by a dependably combative defense solidified their shutout of Langley. Senior goalkeeper Dillon Prestidge had an especially momentous game, returning from a week away from soccer after the birth of his daughter. 

“The game couldn’t have gone any better for me and I got my kid here watching,” Prestidge said. “It’s amazing, feeling the support and motivation to play for her. I can’t describe it. It’s awesome.”

The larger turnout of fans for both games was also a huge contributor to the teams’ wins. 

“If you’ve seen the average soccer game turnout, this is a good time,” senior Charlie Samberg said. “[The players] will see these guys in the stands and feel the support.”

Between the constant intensity on the field, endless support from off the field, and the empowering thirst to beat Langley, McLean’s soccer teams delivered a reckoning for the Saxons. 

“We expect big things and we know they’re going to deliver,” Samberg said. “It’s hard to stop a moving train once it gets speeding up.”