- January 30, 2019
As postseason soccer comes to a close for high schools across the state, two locals teams are walking away with some hardware.
The Orangewood Christian School boys soccer team and the Trinity
girls soccer team both finished the season strong earlier this month as they captured their respective regional championships.
RAMS TAKE REGIONAL CROWN
Despite battling illnesses during the season, the Rams pushed through with a successful run to the regional finals. In a nail-biter against St. Johns Country Day School Feb. 13 that went 0-0 through regulation and overtime, Orangewood came out on top in penalty kicks 4-2 to take the trophy.
Orangewood fell to Shorecrest Prep Feb. 16 in the state semifinal, but head coach Nicholas Bond said the accomplishments far outweigh the disappointment
“We started with a full team — which I’d say is around 18, 19, 20 — and we had some setbacks early on due to some sicknesses and other things,” Bond said. “We ended up with only 15 players going through the season. I don’t know if anyone else even expected us to make it as far as we did. For the boys to get a regional championship under their belts makes me really proud. I think they exceeded expectations this season.”
Leading the way for the Rams were senior Danny Rouse and junior Brad Swan, who put up around 27 goals apiece through the season.
Other players persevered through injuries, such as Sebastian Mejia-Arango, who fractured two toes in the regional quarter final and played through it.
“We really just reached beyond expectations for our season,” Rouse said. “It really felt like we were underdogs going into this season. A lot of underclassmen were asked to step up into huge positions and they successfully did. … It was really an incredible thing to witness.”
A regional championship win marks the Rams’ 14th regional title in 32 years as a program. Orangewood hasn’t captured a boys soccer state title since the 2014-15 season, though the program came close to a repeat in 2015-16 with a state finals appearance.
Next year’s group is driven to get back to the big dance and bring it home.
“They’re all fired up — they even told me after the (state semifinal) game that they’re ready for next year trying to aim for a state championship again,” Bond said.
SAINTS RISE UP
Trinity Prep captured the girls soccer regional championship for the second-consecutive year after defeating P.K. Yonge 7-0 Feb. 12.
The Saints later fell to The Bolles School 3-1 in a close state semifinal battle.
Head coach Joe Avallone said it’s his goal to have the girls come together as a team and build chemistry within themselves.
“I thought the girls, little by little every game, just got stronger, and they started believing in each other,” he said.
The Saints had some strong play from top goal scorers Allie Avallone (sophomore,15 goals), Phoebe Fowler (junior, 14 goals) and Romie Llewellyn (sophomore, nine goals), while several clutch shutouts by junior and goalkeeper Sydney Cox also made a difference.
Seniors and team captains Meg Parent, Sophia Olore and Jackie Wang played key roles as well as they led the younger players this year through the ups and downs of the season.
It was a special experience encouraging those players, Parent said.
“I think the three of us had a really good dynamic when it came to encouraging other players,” Parent said. “I think each of us kind of had a role. We all hold each other accountable, which I think really helped the team have at least one captain they could go to.”
The regional championship was a special way to remember a special team, Parent said, adding it was gratifying to see the team gain support over the past two years during back-to-back regional-title runs.
“It’s one of my favorite memories from high school as a whole,” she said. “At Trinity, girls sports aren’t really given that much attention, but as soon as we started winning, people started coming out to our games and people started choosing to come to girls soccer over other sports. That was really cool.
“I’m so proud to call myself a girls varsity soccer player — they kind of embody everything that it means to be a Saint,” Parent said. “We fight hard, and everybody’s got each other’s backs. Everybody on the team studies hard and shows up for practice. I loved this team so much.”