Girls varsity soccer team ends season in Vandegrift game (3-0)


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Varsity soccer player Jocelyn Rodriguez warming up before Vandegrift game

Daniella Moreno

On March 24, the girls varsity soccer team played their last game of the season against Vandegrift High School. Despite losing, the team was actually the first varsity girls soccer team at Johnson to make it to the playoffs. The score in their last game was 3-0. 

“The score does not really show how well we did,” girls varsity soccer head coach Michael Banning said. “It was all new for everybody. We learned taking our time, also making sure all players are mentally ready and prepared to play.”

One of the most shocking things about this game was the fact that Johnson was even there. This was the school’s first year in the 6A district, and they played against some of the toughest schools like Westlake, Lake Travis, and Akins. Yet the team made it to playoffs and won third in the district. 

“Not many teams thought Johnson would make it to the playoffs, especially being in such a hard district, so when we got there, it was just all the hard work, just all paid off,” varsity soccer player Jocelyn Rodriguez said. “We’ve definitely improved overall, with each other, on the soccer field and just becoming better players.”

As a way to build team morale, the team had group dinners before every home game. Rodriguez describes her teammates as understanding yet corrective, but they also make her want to do better.

“They are very encouraging as well, so they just make you want to be out there, play the sport and do it well,” Rodriguez said. 

Banning said this team has improved physically by being able to last longer in games. He claims the girls really took practices to heart and treated them as actual games. 

“Which makes practice more fun, but also more competitive,” Banning said. “But when we get to a team that’s difficult, we know we can take that step up.”

But what was crazy to Banning was how the team was able to grow together mentally. 

“They really, truly love each other,” Banning said. “They like being around each other. They had team dinners, they would go to movies. Mentally, that’s how they progressed and got stronger.”

A way Banning tries to keep his players motivated, but also make progress, is through goals. This year, their goal was to go to the playoffs. 

“It was a very uphill battle,” he said. “To remain goal oriented really helps them.”

The highlights of the season for Banning were the beginning and the end of it. The beginning was when the team tied with Lake Travis 1-1, while the end was their last game against Vandegrift.

“For us to go out and win at home and get into the playoffs and celebrate at home was huge,” Banning said. “ That was something they’ll remember, and I’ll remember it for the rest of my life because that was pretty cool.”