After losing to the Pewaukee boys soccer team three years in a row, the boys varsity soccer team defeated the Pirates 5-2 at home on senior night, October 14.
The preparation for this game began last June, with informal practices hosted each Wednesday night by Austin Poole, Jake Rock and Squeaky Washington, seniors and team captains. Three weeks before the official start of the season, the seniors met with Kyle Konkel, new head coach, to discuss the team’s goals for this year.
“Being that I’m new, [my main goal] was getting to know the players … and figuring out how I could help them achieve their goals for the season – one of those being beating Pewaukee on senior night – but also creating more of a team atmosphere and an atmosphere where players are happy to be playing soccer at the high school,” Konkel said.
The captains agreed that Konkel is much different from Andy Biasch, last year’s head coach, and has had a positive influence on the team. “He’s always at practice before we are; he’s really committed,” Washington said. Captains cite the increase of comradery and respect as the reason behind the improved atmosphere.
“Our last coach never did [this], but our coach now makes it to pasta dinners, wants to be around the players and likes everyone joining together, and sometimes he’s just kind of like another player,” Rock said.
Konkel says that the biggest challenge for the team this year was performance consistency. “We’re playing a different style of soccer this year than I think they’ve been used to, and it’s really team- and passing- based, so it relies more on sharing the ball and then playing a disciplined defense,” Konkel said. “We’ve had our good times, our not so good times and our in-betweens.”
This year, the soccer team received a large group of freshmen, which helped the program establish three teams: a varsity, a “JV 1” and a “JV 2.” Although there was a gap between the large group of freshman and the varsity team, which is made up of mostly upperclassmen, the athletes dedicated themselves to creating a friendly atmosphere. “The seniors were good about being nice to the younger players,” Konkel said.
The team ended their regular season with a record of 9-7-2, and played their first playoff game on October 22 at Nickoll Stadium. After beating Pewaukee, the captains are hopeful about the future of the program in Konkel’s hands. Konkel currently resides in Shorewood with his family, which also gives even higher hopes for the players.
“[That] is important because he’s setting his roots here and so you know he’s dedicated and trying to start a dynasty,” Washington said. Konkel is also positive about coaching at Shorewood.
“I’m happy to be at Shorewood and happy to be a coach for such a great group of guys. I’m looking forward to the program getting better and better every year,” Konkel said.
(by Justine Spore)