The Haliburton Highlands Secondary School girls soccer teams have had to overcome struggles on the pitch this season – with the biggest challenge being a frost damaged field that’s forced them to play all away games.
Both teams finished their regular seasons last week and went onto playoffs May 22.
The senior girls were eliminated in the playoffs, while the juniors received an automatic berth into Central Ontario Secondary School Association (COSSA) competition.
The seniors managed a 2-3 record in regular season play, while the juniors went 1-5.
“My motto has just been try to be super, super flexible,” juniors coach Amy Klose said. “We’ve just had to … keep it really light and fun and go with all the punches.”
Frost heaving and drainage problems left portions of the field rutted.
It had an impact, preventing them from scrimmaging before their first games.
“They’ve played indoors since early March. But it’s 30-40 girls in the gym, so there’s not a lot of space,” Klose said. “It impacts our ability to learn how to kick big … (and) have any sense of the field.”
However, the girls played on.
The seniors topped the Kawartha region in the regular season amongst single-A teams, which have less than 500 students. The juniors had close 2-1 losses against larger schools in Lindsay and Fenelon Falls and have a guaranteed spot at COSSA as one of the only single-A schools in the region.
“Honestly, I think it’s fine,” senior captain Arden Harrop said “You have to learn to play in whatever situations arise.”
“I’m impressed with our team,” junior captain Hayley Boylan said. “It’s been tough because we’re all younger … but they’ve caught on well and we’re really aggressive. We want to win.”
Coach Doug Sullivan works with both teams. He said they struggled playing cohesively against bigger schools.
“Sometimes when they face stronger competition, they revert back to individuals as opposed to playing as a team,” Sullivan said. “Because they want to win so hard. They’re really competitive.”
The seniors were unable to make it out of Kawartha playoffs, falling 2-1 to Campbellford. Natayla Gimon scored for Haliburton on a penalty shot.
Klose is appreciative of all the people who worked hard to make the season happen despite scheduling difficulties, including principals, parents and seniors coach Janice Scheffee.
Watching players develop makes all the effort worth it, Klose said.
“Watching how they grow regardless of any innate ability. They learn it’s really no secret. It’s just hard work and showing up. You go through the ropes and you’ll get better. That’s a good lesson for kids to learn about anything in their lives.”
The junior girls soccer teams plays in COSSA competition May 29.