The Mission Bay Men’s Varsity Soccer team has had an uneven season this year. After starting practices at the beginning of the winter sports season, the team has gone through a series of wins, losses and even a tie under the coaching of MBHS History teacher Joe Panian. But with a combination of fierce dedication to the sport, rigorous practices everyday, as well as a good amount of learning from their mistakes, the Bucs team is looking to finish the season strong.
Practices for the team are a combination of technique and cardiovascular exercise, in order to maintain a balance between the strategic elements of the sport and the physical demands required to compete. Alex Paclibar, one of the players on the team, says: “We have to do a lot of conditioning because we have to face some really tough opponents, some of whom don’t even consider conditioning a factor anymore.” Every practice is meant to push players to their limits, and to inspire them to constantly strive to better both themselves and their overall sense of teamwork so that they can be ready for each opponent. “Like any family, we have arguments,” Alex comments, “but throughout the season we have definitely become very close as a team.”
Now near the end of their season, the varsity soccer team has played a series league games following their non-league matches. On January 8th they went up against Clairemont in their first league away game and lost 2-0. On the 10th they faced Coronado here at Mission Bay, with that game ending in a 1-0 defeat as well. Following this, however, they went on an amazing winning streak, beating Christian 2-1 on the 15th, La Jolla by 1-0 on the 17th, Kearny by 1-0 on the 19th, Madison by 2-1 on the 22nd, and Clairemont by 4-3 on the 29th. Their next game after that against Coronado on the 31st ended in a 1-0 loss, but the one after that against Christian on the 5th of February ended in another win for the team with a score of 2-1. On their performance this year, Paclibar says: “Our season has been like a rollercoaster so far, but we’ve won the games we needed to win.”
Overall, despite a few mistakes and losses throughout the season, the team has significantly grown in skill and coordination, to the point where they now feel more prepared than ever to take on any opponent who comes their way. “Being on the team has taught me a lot of lessons,” says Alex, “and has given me a lot of motivation to continue my soccer career after high school.” It is without a doubt that their hard work and dedication has lead to vastly improved performances in the latter half of the season. Their next game is on Thursday, February 7th against La Jolla.