Up to The Challenge

A Look Back on Our Girls Soccer Season
The Dragons beat Bellevue West 2-1 to win the A-1 District title. The team went on to compete at State again this year.
The Dragons beat Bellevue West 2-1 to win the A-1 District title. The team went on to compete at State again this year.
Kierstin Gay

Gretna High School’s girls soccer team was unstoppable. Not a single team they were faced against could knock them down for three seasons in a row. Undefeated for 42 games straight had the team feeling so good.
Coming into a season with many of the varsity players from last season now at Gretna East High School, they knew that there were going to be challenges to overcome. Getting through the disappointment of the season, starting out in a 2-1 loss to Marian, was rough on the players along with the fans.
“We also had a new coach, so we had to adapt to that,” senior London De Fini said. “I think that losing a bunch of players to East was hard on us as well, because a lot of those girls were our starters. We needed to adapt to not playing with them.”
This past season, the girls won the district championship title and finished with a 12-6 record. They proved that the challenges that were thrown at them this year could not stop them from working hard and playing well.
“The season went the way that we expected in the sense that the girls showed up every day and worked really hard, and we had a lot of fun,” head coach Rachel Twist said. “They responded really well to a whole bunch of different scenarios that were thrown at them. That was certainly the expectation that they compete every day, and they did. Literally, until the last second.”
Along with this, the girls soccer team this season consisted of 16 seniors who are now graduating. Ten of those players are committed to playing collegiate soccer.
“Whenever you graduate that big of a class, leadership is a concern for sure,” Twist said. “Even though there are other girls who are capable of it, we just need to figure out how we’re going to make this program ours and move forward.”

“They pick me up when I’m down, and I think that these are the relationships that I will have for a really long time. It’s kind of like a sibling relationship. They become your sisters.”

— London De FIni

Next year, there will be two returning seniors to lead the team. There have been several new adjustments that this team has been conforming to, including the preparation to switch from Class A to Class B next year. They face many unknowns and are up for that challenge.
A full JV and varsity team for next season is another one of those unknowns. Numbers for participation in sports all over GHS have been impacted by the split of the high schools, as well as the senior class graduating this spring.
However, the efforts put in by the team to overcome all of this have started to pay off. Winning the district championship game 4-0 against Bellevue West punched Gretna’s ticket to the state tournament.
In the end, Lincoln East defeated the Dragons 2-1 at Morrison Stadium.
They pick me up when I’m down, and I think that these are the relationships that I will have for a really long time. It’s kind of like a sibling relationship. They become your sisters.[/pullquote]“I thought another one was going to fall for us, I really did, up until the final buzzer,” Twist said. “I just assumed that we would convert on any shot because we had so many shots on goal, and we were just relentless on the attack. I believe in this team wholeheartedly, and I was certain something would fall, and it just didn’t.”
Coming after three years in a row of Class A state championship titles, this was a disheartening moment for players, parent, and fans to watch. It wasn’t the expectation of most, but the players try to stay positive through it.
“It’s just sad to end your season like that. But we have to have a good attitude about it, because there’s nothing we can do about it after the game,” De Fini said. “I think that we just need to be encouraging to each other after that game and lift each other up.”
Overall, while the season might not have been as good as the last three, this team has conquered a huge amount of difficulties, and they are proud of it. The players formed bonds that are now their life long friendships.
“I couldn’t do it without the players that are supporting me and giving me encouragement,” De Fini said. “They pick me up when I’m down, and I think that these are the relationships that I will have for a really long time. It’s kind of like a sibling relationship. They become your sisters.”

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