Captains play Huskies in cross county rival district game

Tae Herron, Staff Writer

The Captains celebrate their game with a winning goal scored by Jack Martin. Left to right: Rudy Lovo, Connor Campbell, and Ryan Appel. (Hideko Dudley)

On May 1, a huge rivalry game pitted County against the Tuscarora Huskies, both teams having a good record to start the season with. The Captains had just one loss going into the game, while the Huskies went into the game undefeated 8-0, which changed after the game, as they were knocked off 2-1.

Watching the players play in the non-stop rain and seeing the crowd on both sides cheering their team on yelling under big umbrellas to avoid getting wet provided a unique experience in addition to the excitement of the game. Senior player Bryan Mora knew going into the game that it was going to be a fight til the end and knew his team had to be ready for the fight.

“There’s always a bit of nervousness going into a game against an undefeated team, but we were confident in our ability and preparation,” Mora said. “We knew that we would have to bring our best performance to the field to stand a chance, and were ready to rise to the challenge.”

The Captains’ head coach, Christopher Mazzatenta, was pleased to knock off such good talent and a well-coached team.

“It felt great,” Mazzatenta said. “Tuscarora is well coached and has an extremely deep and talented pool of players.”

Mazzatenta felt like the fan support was a big key in their victory against the previously undefeated Tuscarora.

“Our fans were incredible,” Mazzatenta said. “We owe a lot of last night’s victory to their spirited support. I hope we can count on the hundreds of students and family members to get out to our remaining games.”

Junior team captain, Jack Martin, was very pleased with his performance and the big support from the crowd.

“It was a relief knowing that we won and that my goal won the game,” Martin said. “The crowd was crazy and I’m glad I could show them what I can do. They deserved to see a win for being so loud all night and staying through the rain and cold.”

The defense was a big part of the victory as well, not just the offense. According to Mazzatenta, both goalies that played were able to play stable and bring confidence to the defense, and Connor Campbell was successful in stopping Tuscarora leading scorer from scoring all game.

Even with missing five players that game, the team stayed confident. “We believe in the saying, ‘next man up!’ Our players train to be able to play multiple positions,” Mazzatenta said. “During a single game each player wants to contribute anyway they can.”

This game was for the first place in the district, so it was very important especially with the playoffs approaching.

“This was a must win. The teams were separated by one point in the standings,” Mazzatenta said. ”Whoever won this game last night would control their destiny the rest of the way into the playoffs.”

After a tie scoring first half, Mazzatenta and his coaches came up with a strategy to convert in the second half.

“Our coaches came up with a strategy, discussed it with our team leaders, and we made some adjustments based on their recommendations,” Mazzatenta said. The coaches knew that the game was going to be close at the end of the first half due to both teams being talented.

“In the first five minutes of the second half we wanted to set the tone and came out playing at a higher tempo hoping it would create more scoring opportunities,” Mazzatenta said.  Even though the game was played in non stop rain, the players were prepared due to previous practices in bad weather.

“Weather wasn’t an issue. I give the boys credit that we have been training in the rain, the cold, blowing winds all year with no complaints,” Mazzatenta said, anticipating they would eventually play games in less than perfect conditions.

The team looks forwards to wrapping up their regular season well and getting ready for the playoffs. “We have four games over the next eight days with no time to really practice in between just resting and playing,” Mazzatenta said. “Having a loud, boisterous group of fans at our games would really help keep our energy high.”

The senior players were very happy that the team was able to come out with the victory at the end of the very intense rival game.

“The joy and happiness was overwhelming, and I couldn’t help but feel a deep sense of satisfaction knowing we came out on top,” Mora said. “In that moment, it was as if nothing else mattered except the win. It was truly an unforgettable experience and one that I will cherish for a long time to come.”