Girls soccer practices translate to playoff success

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Josh White

Junior center back Ashley Randall looks downfield for a teammate on a throw-in against the Oceanside Sailors on Sept. 20. The Vikings fell in the match 2-1.

Kyle Cohen, Staff Writer

The girls varsity soccer team knows how important practice is to its success. Every day, the girls go through an intense session of practice to try and improve. After getting the equipment out of the cage, they run four laps around the field and do some dynamic stretching to warm up. Following a water break, the team does drills to work on passing, shooting, defense, foot skills, and off-the-ball movement.
After these high-intensity drills, the team will usually scrimmage or play small-sided games (games played with smaller lineups). Finally, the coaches conclude practice with a speech about effort, hard work, passion, and playing as a team.
“The team works on all aspects of the game every day at practice. We do technical work, tactical concepts and conditioning every day,” said head coach Ms. Lauren Bishar.
Coach Bishar and assistant coach Mr. Sean Dooley put a large amount of time into the preparation and planning of each practice.
“Planning is very important,” said Coach Bishar. “We assess the previous game and implement the things we need to work on at the next practice to prepare us for our next opponent. Practice is very important to the team and its success. It is where the team works on their weaknesses, prepare for our opponent and improve on our strengths. We learn how to work together as a team and become a unit to achieve our goals.”
The players agree with their coaches about the importance of practices. They know it is their time to improve daily and get a better feel for each other on the field.
“Practice is very important to our success because it allows us to practice tactics and set plays as well as gives the team an opportunity to get comfortable playing with each other,” said senior captain Krista Ledins.
While the team’s performance in games is only reflected by its record, practice is where all the hard work and preparation is put in.
The team feels that it needs to come to practice focused every single day, ready to try and improve in order to reach their goals.
“The team sets individual and team goals at the beginning of the season. They have a goal to reach and they know what it takes to achieve it. They understand the work and effort they put in each day is going to help them reach that goal. They are a good group that wants to achieve individual and team success,” said Coach Bishar.
Soccer is a physically demanding sport, and being in shape contributes to the team’s performance. Many teams use practice time to run laps and improve their conditioning.
Coaches have the players run laps and do sprints throughout the entire practice. It is often used as a punishment but there are many soccer teams that condition this way regularly. However, the girls soccer team has a different philosophy. They believe that the intensity of their practice should help them condition and stay in game shape.
“Our conditioning is included in our drills, meaning we are expected to work hard during the drill so we don’t have to take away time from practice to run,” said Ledins.
“We do a lot of conditioning in the drills during practice. We try and incorporate as much into the drills to make them competitive and run rather than just getting on the line and running,” said Coach Bishar.
On Oct. 25, the Vikings defeated Valley Stream Central 3-0 in a playoff game under the lights on the turf. Junior Olivia Fetherston recorded a hat-trick in the game.
These intense practices filled with all kinds of drills and conditioning are tremendously important to the success of the team during games. Each drill is competitive and the players understand that this intensity and competition will pay off at the end of the season.