Holy Trinity’s girls soccer team looks ahead after tough playoff loss
Holy Trinity's Jessica Baez, one of two seniors on this year's team, said she'll always have fond memories of her time with the Tigers. Holy Trinity lost to Lakeland Christian in Friday night's Class 1A regional semifinals.
VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala
It was a familiar and unwelcome refrain for Holy Trinity’s girls soccer team as they fell to Lakeland Christian 2-1 Friday night in the Class 1A regional semifinals.
It was the sixth time in as many years that the Tigers have been eliminated by the Vikings in the postseason.
“Tonight, we played against a good opponent,” said Holy Trinity head coach Joey Messina. “We played well. We were in the game. The performance from us was admirable. There was a moment where we weren’t far off. We were always right there. But the most impressive thing about us right now is that it’s a process.
“When I got here three years ago, we were not this competitive and every year we get better and the girls get better and better.”
Despite the loss, the future of the program looks extremely bright. Want an indication of that? Take a look at the team’s unwavering determination that continued to persist even after Lakeland Christian took a 2-0 second-half lead.
The Tigers hadn’t had much offense going all night against a seemingly impenetrable Viking defense, but despite the odds of a comeback and the tradition of the matchups in recent years, Holy Trinity fought back as Kailey Dunne’s goal with more than 16 minutes remaining invigorated the team and cut the Viking lead in half.
“I think that Kailey’s goal, that late in the game down 2-0, coming back and scoring, demonstrates our character as a team,” Messina said. “It’s not just Kailey there. It’s a collective effort. The goal was a collective effort. Kailey got to score a goal and the end product was the result of her shot, but that was a collective effort from the entire team.
“I think goes to show you the work rate and the relentlessness and the character of this team and how devoted they are to working together to achieve the best they can.”
Holy Trinity’s comeback attempt would be hampered, however when a player was sent off after picking up a second yellow card about five minutes later. From there, the Vikings were able to repel other would-be Tiger offensive threats en route to the victory.
Many of the Tigers who played in the game will return for the 2019-2020 season, which will undoubtedly fuel hopes for another strong season.
“We’re relatively a young program, graduating two this year,” Messina added. “You hate to lose them, and the girls have big shoes to fill coming back, but a lot of our kids were young and a lot of the kids that played tonight are in the ninth and 10th grade.
“They’ve got a lot of seasons left at Holy Trinity, so there is a high ceiling for us, and I think tonight they learned a lot about resiliency and what it’s about to play at this level.”
One of Holy Trinity’s seniors, Jessica Baez, said she’ll always remember her time with the team fondly.
“I’ve made so many great memories from this team,” Baez said. “It’s just amazing. It’s sad to let it go, but they’ll always stay with me for the rest of my life. Growing up with this team and everything, it’s something to remember.
“There’s so many memories, bus rides, all these games that we’ve won and lost. We’ve always done it together. It’s just been amazing. I love this team and I wouldn’t give it up for anything.”