The week before our first official game is always exciting, yet also hard to say the least.
It is thrilling to get back on the pitch after a long time since our last game, but you can’t be prepared without putting in the effort during the offseason. We spent most of the preseason working hard and pushing ourselves to the limit, whether that comes to runs or even just drills.
I feel as though if you outwork your opponents you already have them beat. All this training in the summer is in preparation for the first game of the season in the Big Spring Bulldog Tourney.
Personally, I enjoy this tournament a lot and it’s just a friendly reminder that the season is officially underway. While it is my last time being in it, I can say I am pretty happy with the result. Winning for the third year in a row is always nice, but it’s more exciting to see where we are as a team and to look at what we can work on as the season continues.
Losing many seniors last year meant we had some roles to fill in the lineup, but I think that some of our younger guys filled in those spots very well and stepped up for our team. I believe we have still have plenty of room for improvement, and can’t wait for my senior year of soccer with the team!
On the field we put away a plethora of goals and allowed just one. We look like a unit and that was our goal for this week. Considering the players we lost from last year, we needed to mold together a new team.
After the Big Spring tournament we had some holes that needed plugging on both ends of the field. Our big problem was we needed to keep our focus for the full game to avoid letting teams back into it. Since we have consistently gone out and scored in the first 10 minutes, we needed to be able to sustain that focus and not get complacent.
In these past three games this week we did just that and minimized “let downs” after the first half. This is a nice turnaround considering the level of competition next week will be very strong — we will have to be playing at our best to shut them down.
Another big positive to be taken from this week is our conditioning held strong. With rain postponing the Bishop McDevitt game and ACTs moving the Susquehanna Township game closer, it meant we had to play three games in three days. For a goalie like myself I am okay with it, but for the rest of the squad they gained a lot of mileage.
It was nice to see all the preseason running and work come into play so well. With that said we’ll see how next week goes.
My favorite time in the soccer season is when we have three, even four games a week.
Personally, I think that games are by far the best part of soccer, although it may be hard on your body. Last week we had three games and all three were a little different than usual. The team is normally accustomed to playing our games on turf fields that are long and wide, but this week all of our games were on grass fields, and honestly not the best conditions for soccer.
We started the week at home on a rough grass field where we practice usually with bumps and divots almost every step. Next game we traveled to Middletown where it wasn’t much better, due to the fact that the football team plays there. And lastly, we played on a slick grass field at 9 a.m. in Boiling Springs. To be honest, it was rough for our team to adapt to shorter grass fields where the ball won’t roll perfectly as on turf, but luckily I feel as though we outworked every team and overcame the conditions of the pitch.
And while the conditions were bad, it is no excuse when you are out on the field. If we learned anything this week we learned that no matter where you play or what it looks like, you always have to be mentally prepared for anything. It was a fun week to say the least, coming out 3-0, and I am looking forward to the next.
All in all, this week was packed with thrilling games.
First was West Shore Christian Academy, which battled, but the real challenge came the following the day against Trinity. The Shamrocks were the only other undefeated team in our division and our biggest rival, so it was a huge game for us.
After a scoreless first half, Will Earhart was able to get a nice deflection off a free kick to put us ahead. But with six minutes left they were able to tie the game, sending it to overtime with a beautiful volley. However, the Lions love to battle back, and we did just that. Just 21 seconds into overtime, Jake Coniglio flips the script and bags a header off a Matt Little bomb of a throw in.
Ending the game that fast caught me by surprise, but Jake made it happen. His celebration is what really sealed the deal because he did a front flip, which made everyone go crazy.
After back-to-back long games, we had a day break until we went up against West Perry, another good squad which was willing to battle. We went down very early, and the first half seemed slower than molasses. We really needed a jump start to get rolling again. It came at halftime when head coach Justin Sheaffer and Matt Little both brought some energy to the team. It didn’t take long to bounce back from there.
Going up 3-1 really got us back in stride. I am quite proud of how hard the Lions bounced back twice this week — it really shows our scrappiness and perseverance.
These past two weeks of soccer were quite interesting to say the least.
For the first time in my whole high school career, I got injured. Now, I’ve had a hurt quad or hamstring here and there, but I have never sat out a game in all of the sports I play. During a big divisional game against Trinity, with minutes left, I went up for a header and came down on the side of my ankle. I could hear a crack when I came down and fell straight to the ground. I tried to get up and play through it, but I couldn’t, the pain was too much on my body and I pulled myself out of the game.
While we did end up winning the game, I was just miserable the rest of the night in the E.R. waiting for x-rays. Thank Jesus that there were no fractures and it was just a bad high ankle sprain. Even though it was just a sprain, the doctors said I was supposed to be out for two weeks. I couldn’t bear the thought of not playing soccer for two weeks without my teammates.
While getting injured is one of the worst things to happen to you in sports, especially in my senior year, there were some positives. By sitting out for numerous games, I got a completely new perspective of the game and of my team as a whole. I could now see every position, every space and every spot where we could improve. This injury gave me a new way to lead the team through my words and also by just helping in practice whenever I felt the need.
Thankfully, I am back to play this upcoming week and can’t wait. While I clearly wasn’t thrilled to get injured, I do think that I will return a smarter athlete on the field. I like to think that there is a reason for everything that happens to me, and I may not know why I got injured, but I do know that it will work out for good.
As this week’s games coming to a close, we were able to win out with some strong attacking play. We started off this week with a strong win against East Pennsboro at their house. Amias Colestock snagged a hat trick to lead our attack to another strong outing. Then continued his goal scoring streak with another insane hat trick in yet another win against Middletown.
With that resounding 5-1 win against Middletown, we have officially become Mid-Penn Capital Division champs for the third year in a row. Which in turn helps us seed for districts and gives us a shot at the Mid-Penn Conference Championships. Considering how we got knocked out last year, it will be nice to get another shot at the title. Along with a division title we were able to accumulate an unusual statistic that we are pretty proud of. Since freshman year, Camp Hill has not lost to Middletown at all. I like this statistic mainly because it is my Dad’s alma mater, and who wouldn’t love that?
As a team we are gelling more than ever. Our midfield is the mold of the team constantly working box-to-box and it would be a shame not to give shout outs to senior midfielders Will Earhart and Quinn Pickering for coming alive these past few weeks. It is also nice to see younger midfielder Ben Brodie going out every game and putting in the type of performances that we need to win.
All in all, this team deserves the three-peat for the type of work they put in.
Man, it feels good to be back. After a rough past couple weeks, being injured and not being able to contribute on the field with the team, it feels better than ever to get back to playing. As I said in my previous segment, the way you perceive the game changes a whole lot when you are sitting out. And after sitting out for a while, I definitely think that the way I played this past week was different than the past. I transferred what I saw when I was on the bench to my personal game and to the team as well.
This week we managed to win all of our games and remain undefeated throughout the whole regular season. While some games were close, a win is a win and that is all that matters. But while going 18-0 is always fun, it doesn’t matter in the big picture. The main goal for our team is to keep winning throughout districts and states. You don’t get a trophy for being undefeated in the regular season, you get one for winning that district and state title. Even though those two games are a little far away, it is always nice to have a goal in mind. But until then, the team and I are going to take it one game at a time.
And that next game is Lower Dauphin. Two state champions, both in the Mid-Penn and playing on our home turf, it can’t get any better than that. It will be a tough game for us both mentally and physically, but I think we have what it takes to get the job done.
Our team is closer than ever, and while the regular season is over, I feel like we are getting better at working as one unit in unison. There is still lots of time for improvement and I have faith to believe that our season will last until November.
With the regular season coming to a close, it is win or go home. After a tough Lower Dauphin loss in the Mid-Penn semifinals, we have one thing on our mind: win.
Our coach always says, “Only one good team ends the season with a win.”
That being said the recent Mid-Penn loss made us remember what it meant to lose a game. We are now ready to build off that loss and bounce back. With our first playoff game not coming until Wednesday, the goalkeepers had some work to do this past week.
Coach Polly, our goalie coach, and I had some intense diving-focused drills to put into practice on Wednesday and Thursday in order to get some good training in. To make it more interesting, we dumped water onto the ground to make it very slippery in order to prepare for slick conditions in the future. In the end all the keepers were a muddy mess, but the drills worked.
Leading up to playoffs is always a fun time in Camp Hill. All the players are pretty pumped up and want a big win after LD, just to put us back in gear. The playoff run will hopefully be a long one, given it is my senior year. But everyone just needs to remember to take it one game at a time.
It’s finally that time of the year again: playoffs. Everything that our team has worked for comes down to the playoffs, and getting that district and hopefully state trophy at the end. It’s win or go home.
To start the playoffs this week, we faced a solid team in West Shore Christian, but we managed to come out on top of that game fairly easily. We came out to a slow start, but that was sort of expected because we hadn’t played a game in a week. Overall, the only thing that matters is the score at the end and we resulted victorious. It was a solid team win for us and we managed to get most of the junior varsity in that game as well, which is always fun to watch.
The next game, which was the semifinals, was supposed to be a little tougher than the first round, so we came in the game ready to work hard and get the win. I think our hard work really paid off this game as we scored eight goals in the first half and came out to a strong start. This time we put every single player from our bench in the game, which I found pretty cool because we got to see a little sneak peak of our future team. Once again, I think this was a great team win, although I think we still have lots of room for improvement and there’s plenty of time to get better.
Next stop, Hersheypark Stadium for the district finals.
One could say Camp Hill had a pretty productive week.
The girl’s team got a district silver medal after losing 2-1 to Fairfield and we got the district gold in a great showing by the boys. Going up 3-0 in a district final takes a lot of stress out of the game’s final moments, and for a goalkeeper it is amazing.
We were able to pick some holes and go at them getting a nice 2-0 lead thanks to Jake Coniglio. With Amias Colestock cemented the game later to go up 3-0, but his goal kind of confused me. From where I stood it looked like the goalie just let it in because he assumed it was going out. Everyone makes mistakes. After that win, our district record ended 3-0 with 20 goals for and 0 against. Yet, from here on out those results will be pretty unlikely. States is the next and final challenge for the Lions.
With that win, we are headed to states in the same position we were last year. Except with the changing of the bracket we are playing arguably one of the best teams in the Eastern bracket. Faith Christian on Tuesday will surely be a close one just like last year. Both squads have some new players coming up so it should be fun to see who plays well under that kind of pressure. Camp Hill for sure has to be locked in so we can advance and live to fight another day.
As much as I love soccer playoffs, I’m not a fan of the cold weather. Our first round of states there was ice and snow on the field when game time rolled around, and to make it worse, it was very slick and windy. But fortunately, we came away with the 1-0 win against Faith Christian who we also beat last year, and man did it feel good.
Our next game in the state quarterfinal was just as cold as well and was about two hours away. But we got to take a nice coach bus which is always an adventure for the team. We came into that game not knowing much about the other team, so all we could do was play our best right from the get go. And I think we did just that. We pounced on the other team and struck quickly with some nice team play and skills, and after that the goals just kept coming. By the middle of the second half the score was 7-0 and the team and I were pretty pleased by the result.
These past two games reminded me that the team who wants to show up and work the hardest is the team that will win, regardless of the weather. While the weather is getting colder and colder, it is just a little boost for us to work even harder and outperform our opponents.
Next stop the state semifinals as we look to get back to Hersheypark Stadium.
The feeling of getting back-to-back state titles is truly indescribable. To see the team work so hard and work for 80 minutes and some in an insane overtime was very satisfying. It truly is a testament to all their hard work throughout the season. That title could not have been a better way to end our senior season at 25-1 on the year.
All of this could not be possible without my coaches, teammates and family. My mom and dad had to drive pretty far these past years for camps and club tournaments in order for me to grow as a goalkeeper. They logged a lot of miles going from camp to camp this summer and I thank them especially for that. There was one time where my dad brought new cleats when my pair busted open mid camp over an hour away. That really showed just how dedicated they were.
My coaches also really were the ones to push my teammates and I in practice. Sheaffer this year had a lot to deal with, but he really showed his tactical coaching ability. All this, however, was only due to how hard the boys worked this year and in the past. Most of us, and nearly all the seniors, have been playing together since we were young, so getting a medal to end it all is so gratifying for us.
With that, I wish all the luck to Camp Hill soccer in the future and hopefully can see them get some more gold in the near future.