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The Reflection

Gull Lake’s Women’s Soccer team looks to the 2018 postseason with a new mindset

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Stricker (pictured above) said her she has assumed the role of “The Enforcer” on the team. According to Dawson, even though Stricker doesn’t wear a captain’s band, she still serves as a strong leader. Photo by Parker Feraco.

Gull Lake’s girls’ varsity soccer team started and finished their 2017 postseason when they lost the first round of Districts against Thornapple Kellogg. According to starting senior defender, Julia Dawson, that game was the first time the team had played Thornapple Kellogg that year, and that they entered with the expectation of an easy win.

“We definitely went into the game expecting we could walk over them,” she said.

However, according to Dawson and starting senior offender, Katelyn Stricker, it was this mentality that proved to be the team’s downfall.

“It kind of was a wakeup call for returning players,” Dawson said.

According to Dawson, the losses she and her fellow players suffered in the 2017 season was a humbling experience, and helped catalyze a shift in the team’s mindset that has been instrumental for the team’s success this year.

“We realized that we really had to work for everything we wanted,” Stricker said. “Nothing was really going to come easy.”

Stricker also said that the players’ relationships with one another on and off the field has also served as a vital component of the improvement the team has seen in the 2018 season.

“Sure everyone’s got talent, but it’s the chemistry that’s gonna make or break it, so then we worked on that a lot this year,” Dawson said.

According to Dawson, working on team chemistry–especially learning to respect one another and recognizing the strengths of fellow teammates–has worked in their favor.

“When we play we kind of understand how everyone else plays, and we know where everyone is going to be as opposed to last year when it was quite messy, when we didn’t really know how everyone else was going to play,” Stricker said.

Gull Lake Women’s Soccer maintained a 15-0-1 record during their 2018 season, and according to Stricker, though the team has certainly had its ups and downs, they have still been able to perform exceptionally well.

“Even if we don’t play well individually, we can clean up and play well together,” Stricker said.

Dawson said this season has served as the team’s “Revenge Season,” because they’ve been able to beat all the teams they lost to last season.

“We lost to Mattawan, we lost to P.C. [Portage Central,] we lost to Thornapple Kellogg,” Dawson said. “We’ve played all of them this season and we beat them.”

In fact, Gull Lake played and won their first game of the 2018 season against Thornapple Kellogg.

“It was a little confidence booster,” Dawson said.

This year, Stricker said Gull Lake will be playing Mattawan for their third time for the first of three rounds of District.

“Districts are home this year, so hopefully that brings in a good fan section which just continues to motivate us,” Stricker said.

If the team makes it through Districts, they will move on to Regional finals, which, according to Dawson, will be taking place in Mason. A victory at Regionals will give Gull Lake the opportunity to vie for a spot in State Finals. However, a loss in postseason will eliminate the team from the tournament entirely, and Dawson said that if Gull Lake does move on, the competition will only get stiffer.

On Wednesday, May 23, the team celebrated Senior Night. This game was also the girl’s last of the regular season. Photo by Parker Feraco

“We know that every game could be our last,” Stricker said.

For now, Stricker said the team will take the tournament one game at a time.  

“Don’t think a single game ahead, think about only the next game you’re gonna play and let that be your only focus,” Stricker said.

In the end, Stricker said she hopes everyone on the team will be able to dig down and leave everything they have on the field.

“You have to go in with a clean mindset that every game starts 0-0 and you have to put everything out there if you want to succeed,” Stricker said.

Gull Lake’s girls will be playing their first game of Districts against Mattawan on Tuesday, May 29, at 6 p.m.


Marleigh Thorn
About

My name is Marleigh Thorn. This is my third year on The Reflection staff, and I have the pleasure to be the Senior Editor. I have a passion for telling stories, and writing for our school newspaper allows me to do that. Being on The Reflection's staff has shown me how much I love sharing my words with others. I hope to continue reporting as I leave high school, and one day write for a major news agency.

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