Groves defeats rival Seaholm 2-1 in first varsity soccer showdown of the year. Remain undefeated at

by Ethan Lulkin

Photo by Ethan Lulkin

Sophomore Matthew Meilinger attacks the defender in hopes to take the ball and swing the momentum for Groves on October 8.

Sophomore winger Mori Miller sprinted down the field, leaving turf flying from his cleats as he maneuvered the ball down the field. He knew this was his opportunity to strike for Groves. Still flying down the field, Miller faked his body to the left while leaving the ball out to his right, causing his defender to sprint in the other direction. After the feint move, Miller placed the ball wide right, into sophomore midfielder Matthew Meilinger’s range. Meilinger crossed the ball into the box and found senior striker Carlos Hernandez. Hernandez then struck the ball towards the bottom right corner, just past the hands of Seaholm’s goalie.

“We needed that goal,” senior winger Joey Katz said. “We had control of the ball for most of the half but just couldn’t get anything going until that goal.”

Photo by Ethan Lulkin

Sophomore winger Mori Miller fights off the Seaholm defender to keep the ball and set up a play on October 8.

This was Groves first goal in the soccer match against Seaholm on October 8, but it came later than expected with 4 minutes left in the half. Although Groves controlled the ball for most of the first half, at the 25 minute mark in the first half, Seaholm had a spark.

Seaholm got the ball down the field onto Groves’ half. A Seaholm player crossed the ball into Grove’s box getting awfully close to a scoring position.

“They crossed the ball into our box and into a pretty good spot,” senior midfielder Evan Willey said. “Luckily one of our defenders got to the ball and battled and actually poked the ball out. Unfortunately the clearance didn’t go far enough, and one of their players crashed from the top of the box. It bounced right into his feet with no one around.”

With no defenders near, the Seaholm player shot the ball towards the left post for an easy goal. Seaholm had the lead 1-0 with 25 minutes left in the first half.

“After going undefeated at home all season we knew that once we went down 0-1 we had to fight back to defend the nest,” Katz said. “We knew we were the superior team and could out possess them, we just had to come back and play our game. We had to make sure to not drop to their level. We picked up the energy and kept our heads up high and came out with even more intensity.”

That mindset kept a fire under Groves. Miller knew what he had to do and led the team down the field changing the momentum going into half tied, 1-1.

Photo by Ethan Lulkin

In the second half, Senior winger Joey Katz is tripped up in the box with a great opportunity to score, but the Seaholm goalie gets just enough to force a corner kick instead of a goal October 8.

Groves came out of the half with some fire from the Hernandez goal. They pushed the ball down the field many times and finally had a ripe opportunity to score. The ball was sent down the field as Katz chased it from behind. He made a move and nearly got by Seaholm’s goalie, but was stopped for a goal; however Katz still forced a corner kick.

Awaiting the corner kick, Groves filled the box. Miller sent the ball through the air in front of the goal. Meilinger found his way to the ball, jumped into the air, higher than his defender, and headed it across the goal.

“It was a great header, but it still looked like Seaholm was about to stop the goal. The ball was deflected by one of the Seaholm defenders in the box, but because of a great screen by Evan Willey it blocked the sight of the goalie and the ball found the bottom right corner.”

The few fans in the stadium cheered as they took a 2-1 lead. The goal from Meilinger, with the help of the heads up play from Wiley, continued their momentum early on in the second half

Photo by Ethan Lulkin

Sophomore Matthew Meilinger leaps into the air for a header, giving Groves a 2-1 lead over their rival Seaholm October 8.

Photo by Ethan Lulkin

Groves players react to seeing the ball cross the line and into the goal. They celebrate as they take a 2-1 lead over their division rival October 8.

Photos by Ethan Lulkin

Groves' team tramples Meilinger after his go-ahead header. The team jumps and celebrates after taking the lead against their rival school October 8.

For the rest of the game Seaholm couldn’t find any holes in Groves' defense. Groves continued to swarm to the ball whenever it crossed into their side, not allowing any opportunities for Seaholm to strike back. The game ended and the Groves players jumped in the air celebrating.

“We were very excited because we won our last home game and remained undefeated at home all season. Not only did we finish our season undefeated at home, but we got to beat our rivals as well; and frankly, it felt amazing,” Katz said. “As a senior, I wasn’t sure if we were even going to play this season, but everyone on the team was motivated to play and it led us to an amazing season. So going into the season I wasn’t sure if we were going to play any game yet alone our rivals, but I’m thankful we did and was just ecstatic that we won.”

Groves goes into their final regular season game 11-2-2, and will see Seaholm again Oct 14 in the first round of the playoffs.

Photo by Ethan Lulkin

A Seaholm player seals off junior midfielder Nicolas Coignet in an aggressive fight for the ball October 8.

Photo by Ethan Lulkin

Junior center back Ben Roman defends a ball from getting into the Seaholm striker, preventing an easy scoring opportunity October 8.

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