It’s the ghost of seasons past that’s haunting the EDSS girls’ soccer team this year.
Last year, with a large contingent of senior students, the girls played well enough to move from the “B” division up to “A.” Then those senior players graduated, and the team didn’t have an equal number of seniors come out to replace them.
With only three Grade 12s and another trio of Grade 11s, the team is struggling. After a 5-1 loss to Forest Heights on Tuesday, EDSS’ record slipped to 0-6, leaving them in last place in the standings.
It seems school size does matter when it comes to girls’ soccer; the other triple-A (smaller) schools in the division, Southwood and Kitchener Collegiate, are keeping Elmira company at the bottom of the pack.
Given the number of Grade 9s and 10s on the field, coach Jennifer Amos-Harrison is happy with the way her team is performing.
“I think we’re doing quite well; I think we just have to believe in ourselves a little bit more.
“Because they’re so young, they get pushed a bit,” she said, referring to forward Sarah Witherspoon, who has great ball control and playmaking skills but lacks the size of her opponents.
“She’s in Grade 9 and she weighs 85 pounds soaking wet, and she’s going against a Grade 12 that weighs 140 pounds.”
The girls tend to play strongly for one half of the game, but lapses in the other half leave them too far behind to catch up. Amos-Harrison wants to see them work on their shooting for the remainder of the season, because that’s the area where they tend to second-guess themselves.
Keeper Yi Wang has maintained a strong performance between the goalposts, keeping losses from turning into blowouts.
“She picks the right moments to challenge the ball, she’s always there. The goals they’ve had have been phenomenal shots,” Amos-Harrison said.
Despite the zero in the wins column, the girls don’t criticize or lose their enthusiasm for the game, said coach Doug Thomas.
“The joy of coaching in Elmira is it doesn’t matter, win, lose or draw, the girls are always happy and positive.”