Raiders eliminated in South Spencer sectional

Photo by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Southridge sophomore keeper Reece Tretter (00) possesses a ball Tuesday in the South Spencer sectional against Evansville Day. The Raiders fell to the Eagles, 7-2. 

ROCKPORT - Southridge girls took the soccer field in their inaugural season on seldom occasions in 2020, but Tuesday's South Spencer sectional proved to be one of those occasions.

A combination of injuries, concussions players quarantined and low numbers to begin with limited the number of official games the Raiders (0-4) partook in this season, with Tuesday's 7-2 loss to Evansville Day being the last. Southridge's girls still had opportunities to do other things this season, such as preseason scrimmages and practices.

"It's hard to stay positive, but we did it," Southridge coach Brandon Aders said. "And they're laughing and smiling at the end of every game or every practice, and I feel like we've succeeded."

Aders said the main thing was that Southridge got to do something, while other teams weren't able to do anything. He recalled times this season when he only had six or eight players at practice this season, but Aders tried to make it fun. The Raiders would have three-on-three matches in practice, and the coaches would sometimes jump in and play with them.

The Raiders kept things close for much of Tuesday's game against the Eagles. Evansville Day dominated much of the offensive possession, forcing Southridge to defend by blocking shots, kicking balls away from the Eagles and forcing sophomore keeper Reece Tretter to be on her toes.

However, Southridge also stayed in it through the first half and the beginning of the second half. Sophomore Maritza Romero scored both of her team's goals in this game. Her second goal trimmed Southridge's deficit to 3-2 in the second half, but Evansville Day pulled away after that.

"I really wanted to win, but I'm glad we played," Romero said. "I'm happy with my team and we all tried."

"We did our best and I love the team to death," Tretter added. "We tried so hard and we played through everything this season. I'm so proud of my girls."

Romero and Tretter both found not having the numbers to be the hardest part of the season, but both felt the Raiders got through it. Tretter will look back at all the fun the 2020 Raiders had as a team, while Romero reflected on how they all bonded and worked together.

The only player Southridge is graduating from this team is senior Katerin Alegria, who was scared that she might've had to quarantine and Southridge would lose another player. However, Alegria thinks her teammates still are good players even without her. She recalled how positive everybody was whenever they got to play.

"Kat was a leader at practice," Aders said. "She was there every practice, never missed a beat, did take on that role and that set a fine example for the rest of them."

Aders hopes his players will realize that it's not all about what the ending is, but what his players become during the season. He wants good people, and that's part of what coaching is, he said.

He felt this year's team matured "100 percent."

"It was kind of a hit after hit, but they stayed positive," he said. "We played tonight, and that's all that matters."

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