Tigers send four seniors out in style with special night


Published:

It was a special night at Holy Trinity as the girls soccer team honored seniors (from l-r) Payton Yates, Kailey Dunne, Julia McCarthy and Amelia Anello.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

When you’ve been wearing the same colors and playing for the same team for a long time, it can be hard to imagine it all coming to end.

But that was the case for four Holy Trinity soccer players Friday night.

Amelia Anello, Kailey Dunne, Julia McCarthy and Payton Yates were honored on Senior Night at Catherine A. Ford Field as the Tigers closed out the regular season with an easy 7-0 victory over the visiting St. Edward’s Pirates.

“I don’t really think it’s hit me yet, that this is kind of it,” Anello said. “It doesn’t feel real.

“You do so many other senior nights in your time in the program. This one … it’s kind of surreal, a little emotional. I think it’s going to hit me when I get home and I’m like, ‘Oh, that was it. No more.”’

Well, not technically.

As the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Class 3A, District 10 girls soccer tournament, Holy Trinity (7-3-2) will get one more home game.

The Tigers will host No. 7 Cocoa Beach (3-11-1) at 6 p.m. on Thursday before presumably moving onto the semifinal round, which is set for Feb. 3 against the winner of the game between No. 3 West Shore and No. 6 John Carroll. That matchup is set to take place at 5 p.m. at Melbourne Central Catholic.

But Senior Night is always a special event because it celebrates the players who have helped shape the program over the past four years and celebrates the legacy they will leave behind.

“It was a lot of fun,” McCarthy said. “It was very emotional. This is Amelia and I’s last time really playing soccer. Kailey (Queens University of Charlotte) and Payton (North Alabama) are going to go on and play in college, which is really cool.

“It was a great way to end for all of us, to be with friends and family and the whole team.”

The players were honored at halftime of Friday night’s game, getting a chance to walk on the field with family members. McCarthy, in particular, seemed to get emotional.

“I was,” she laughed. “I’ve been playing soccer since I was five years old. This is the end of my career. It was emotional, but it was a good way to end it.”

Sophomore Julia McNatt scored two goals, freshman Averie Schweitzer and Kaileigh Smith -- brought up from the JV team – all scored goals for Holy Trinity Friday night.

And, of course, it wouldn’t be Senior Night without getting goals from Anello, Dunne and McCarthy (her 54th career goal).

Yates, who only touched the ball twice while playing her usual spot in goal, traded in her goalkeeper shirt for a field jersey in the second half. While the Tigers tried to get her a goal, it didn’t happen. Still, she had fun.

“This team is absolutely amazing,” Yates said. “The bond was amazing at the beginning and now, at the end, it showed everyone really does love each other. You could see the emotion when we walked down.

“It was really great.”

Of course, playing in the field meant Yates had to run … a lot. Well, at least a lot more than she’s used to. When was the last time she’s run that much in a game?

“Since I was seven,” she laughed. “I’ve been a goalkeeper for a long time.”

Anello, meanwhile, said she would always cherish getting a goal on Senior Night.

“It meant a lot to me,” she said. “It was more like a thing for all the seniors to score. We wanted everyone to have a goal. It meant a lot in the last regular-season home game, for all of us to have a goal. It was really fun.”

For Dunne, it was the perfect way to go out.

“I really enjoyed it,” she said. “It brought the whole year round, like an end point. Even though we still have districts, I thought it was a good, almost closing point to the season.

“To be with all the girls and see all the support and love that we’ve had over our high school years coming together (was really great.)”

Holy Trinity coach Joey Messina, who became the Tigers coach four years ago when Anello, Dunne, McCarthy and Yates were freshmen, made it clear he will miss the girls who have brought so much class, competitiveness and without a doubt, personality, to the program.

“I was telling the seniors before the game, (Duke men’s basketball) Coach (Mike Krzyzewski) once said the life expectancy is about eight months, then it starts over again,” Messina said. “I read the quote and I was just thinking I wish our high school season was eight months because … it may be selfish, but it’s not going to be the same around here without them.

“It is crazy. When I first came here, they were in ninth grade. To see them grow … they’re just a huge part of all of this.

“These seniors are incredible. I’ll never meet anyone like them again. All four of them are unbelievable people.”