By JD McCarthy
For the Opelika Observer
A young Trinity Christian Boys’ soccer team is hoping to pick up their first region victory Thursday when they host undefeated Harvester in their first region game of the season.
Head coach Calvin Kinney knows this game is more important than the other games and believes his team can get the win as long as they are able to finish.
“I’m hoping the boys are thirsty for a win,” he said. “All we need to do is finish on goal, because we’ve got real close, we just have to be able to finish.”
The Eagles are coming off of a 1-0 loss to Lee-Scott, where Kinney thought they played well but were unable to get the crucial goal.
“I think the big thing is just being able to finish on goal,” he said. “Because other than that we played very well, we just weren’t able to finish and take shots on goal as much as we needed to.”
The loss dropped the Eagles to 2-6 on the season but Kinney has been impressed by how his team has improved throughout the season.
“I think that our communication has gotten a lot better,” Kinney said. “The strategy defensively and offensively has really improved and also, just like, our aggressiveness on the field has really improved.”
The team has been led by Caleb Dean and Daniel Shropshire on defense and Sawyer Waldrip on offense.
“I think those are the big three, that have really stuck out,” Kinney said. He added that Dean and Shropshire have “really put the defense together.”
They have also benefited from some great plays by their goalie Stephen Shropshire , who is just an eighth grader but has played “phenomenally” all season.
Stephen Shropshire is just one of the young players the Eagles have had to rely on as they have just two seniors on their roster.
The fact they are so young has Kinney hoping they will start playing their best soccer at the end of the season and into the playoffs as they continue to adjust to the higher level of play that comes with playing varsity soccer.
“I think the big thing is this team has never really worked on strategy as much,” he said. This is another area they have improved in throughout the season as their youth gets the valuable experience from playing in games.
The Eagles have five games, two of which are against Harvester, remaining in the regular season before the start of the playoffs.
The Eagles are guaranteed a spot in the playoffs but their games against Harvester will determine who is the GAPPS Division IA Region 1 champion and the better seed. The winner will be the top seed and will face off with the second seed form Region 2, while whoever finishes in second will have to face the top seed from Region 2.
Despite the importance of the games, Kinney wants his boys to continue to enjoy the games in the final stretch of the season.
“Finishing and just enjoying the game for what it is, those are the two big things.”