Soccer season ends in heartbreak


Photo Courtesy of: Jeremy Schulz

SENIORS Bron Dietz and Aiden Clarke feel the heartbreak of loss after losing to the Knights in penalty kicks on Oct. 24. Both made their penalty kick, but the loss ended the WHHS soccer teams season, and the SENIORS high school soccer careers.

The scene on the field after the WHHS boys soccer team was a sorrowful sight on Sat. Oct. 24, after the team was knocked out of the postseason tournament in a heartbreaking loss to Kings that came in penalty kicks. This loss ended the Eagles season, along with the SENIORS WHHS soccer career.

“I thought it was tough playing 120 minutes then to come up just short. I think it was a really big blow to all the work the SENIORS and the rest of the team have put in. I think it was a fun year, but wished it hadn’t ended so soon,” SENIOR Bron Dietz said.

The game ended with a score of 0-0 in regulation, the exact score from when the teams met earlier this season in an ECC game. Since the two are in the same conference, there was a level of familiarity heading into this game.

“We played very well in the first game against Kings. We moved the ball but just couldn’t finish. We plan on watching tape before the upcoming game to prepare and hopefully the result will be a trip to round three,” SENIOR Isaac Larsen said ahead of the game.

Unfortunately for WHHS, the results this time were not a trip to round three. After ending regulation in a tie, the teams moved to the first overtime period, and after no team had scored, another overtime period. Even after all that, no team had scored, so the game was sent to penalty kicks (PK).

In penalty kicks, the pressure was on and the stakes were high. After each team made their first three, it went to sudden death. The Kings Knights were able to capitalize on a missed WHHSPK and advance to round four.

“Personally, in a penalty situation, since I started playing soccer for Walnut, I always go bottom right. My mind just goes blank and I let whatever happens happen. If you think too much you’re more likely to mess up,” Dietz said.

WHHS advanced to play Kings after a commanding win against Winton Woods on Oct. 20. The team built an early lead and never looked back, winning 7-1.

“I think there’s always pressure on a tournament game but the team was confident and excited to get the tournament started. We were super focused and it helped us pull through to get the win,” Larsen said.

SENIOR Liam Mentz takes a shot during WHHS 7-1 win against Winton Woods in the first round of the postseason. Mentz, along with six other WHHS players, all scored goals. (Photo Courtesy of: Jeremy Schulz)

The offense not only scored seven goals, but each one came from a different player. Roman Girandola, ‘24, Josh Bauer, ‘23, Jordan Domoe, ‘23, and SENIORS, Llewelyn Grant, Liam Mentz, Aiden Clarke, and Larsen all connected the ball with the back of the net.

“I think the team moved so smoothly and was so productive because of how we passed the ball,” Clarke said. “We played simple passes to feet with minimal touches. This quick decisive play really helped us take control of possession and Winton Woods couldn’t keep up.”

While the loss will likely stay with players for a while, this season was nothing to hang their heads about. The Eagles finished the regular season with a 6-5-4 record and were fifth in the ECC conference.

As the SENIORS depart from the Eagles soccer program, they hope they have left a lasting impact.

“I thought having a younger team I was able to be more of a role model and a leader to all the people who hadn’t gotten big varsity minutes. I feel like this connection will last a lot further past my career as a soccer player,” Dietz said.