It had been a year since girls soccer was played at South Seneca Central School District, as the Board of Education voted to not allow fall teams to compete last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even prior to the pandemic, South Seneca competed as a combined team with Romulus.
This season, though, South Seneca has returned to its home turf, not combined with Romulus, with the goal of rebuilding the school’s soccer program.
As expected with any rebuilding process, it has been a grind for the Falcons thus far. The squad has yet to win a match and has only scored one goal. It also had to either cancel or postpone a handful of games after eight players were forced to quarantine due to potential exposure to the virus.
That being said, head coach Cindy Brewer and assistant coach Joe Brewer are pleased with the team’s progression.
“From where we started with our first game in August to where we are now, the skill level has gone up significantly,” Cindy said. “I’ve seen a lot of improvement in the play. Still working on getting our defense nailed down and our offense clicking together, but we can see that there are glimmers that are happening.”
“We’re generating some sort of offense … we were taking one or two a game and now we’re taking like 10 or 11 a game,” Joe said.
South Seneca features a roster of 19 players – four seniors, four juniors, seven sophomores, two freshmen and two eighth graders. Only two players have experience playing at the varsity level from when the school played alongside Romulus. Cindy said there are a few other players on this year’s team that were also on the combined team, but they received minimal playing time back then. Three of the 19 have not played soccer since they were in the youth program, and nine have not played in two years back when they were at the modified level.
The goose egg in the win column can be deflating at times, though the Falcons have been able to maintain an optimistic mindset.
“They just like to play soccer,” she said. “It’s a little tough when you have a lot of defeats, but by the time that you get back on the bus, or at the end of the game, it’s like, ‘Let’s focus on what great things we were doing and how our game has improved.’ The attitude is very positive.”
Junior Ciera Babcock, who scored team’s lone goal this season, and sophomore Ava Utter have been key figures in South Seneca’s offensive attack.
“Ciera is just offense and defense,” Joe said. “She plays the middle of the field; she plays a lot of both. She has some good footwork. … Ava Utter, she just has a nose for the goal.”
Defensively, freshman Chloe Scott and junior Kendall Elliot have displayed high-level efforts.
“She’s not intimidated to go after the ball,” Cindy said of Scott. “She has worked on her individual skills and is pretty impressive out there with her footwork and ability to maneuver and take the ball away and do a transition to offense.”
“Her work ethic and skills have made her one of our best defenders,” she said of Elliot. “She has very strong [feet].”
Many of the players on the roster are multi-sport athletes, competing on the school’s softball, track and field and basketball teams, for instance. It is their athleticism, coupled with refined soccer skills to hopefully be obtained down the road, that leads the coaching staff to believe the team will take major strides next season.
“We’re rebuilding, and I really believe this is going to be a good team next year,” Joe said. “The kids we have are very athletic. They just need the experience.”