After a successful 10-5 season this year, the Smyrna Eagles girls’ soccer squad had their season come to an abrupt end on Wednesday night, falling to No. 1 Charter School of Wilmington 5-0 at Caravel Academy.
Despite the loss, Smyrna has an awful lot to be proud of this season. The Lady Eagles finished last season at 9-6, coming up just short of a tournament berth. This season, they improved their win total by one clinching a playoff berth for the first time since 2012.
“I told them that I was proud of them, and that what happened (Wednesday) does not diminish what they accomplished this season,” said Smyrna head coach Ryan Buchanan. “I especially wanted the seniors to know that their four-year career would not be defined by that result. As a team they accomplished a lot. They set goals for themselves and through their hard work they were able to accomplish them.”
With just five seniors on the squad this season, the majority of the team will be back to give it another go next season. While Smyrna will standout Maureen Hossler, Hannah Boyles, Brittany Klase and goalkeeper Kayla Kennedy, they have plenty of underclassmen ready to fill the roles left behind by graduating seniors.
“Our seniors were an amazing group, they gave more to the team than mere talent – their leadership, experience, poise, and work ethic were constant examples for our younger players,” said Buchanan. “Our young players are talented, but it takes more than talent to be a successful program. They will be difficult to replace.”
Taking over the senior leadership next season will likely come from this year’s juniors Stacey Staley, Allison Hubert, Samantha Greim, and Brianna Distler. While freshmen midfielders Casey Bell and Kylie McCusker will look to build upon their solid freshmen campaigns.
While the season for Smyrna is now over, Buchanan can’t help but be excited about the potential this Smyrna team has going forward.
“I’m very excited about the potential of this team. We bring back a very strong group of core varsity players that have tasted success and will be hungry for more,” Buchanan said. “The JV program had a productive year, and those players will be looking to make contributions along with a group of incoming 9th graders who just concluded an undefeated middle-school season.”
“I would say the future is very bright for Smyrna soccer,” Buchanan said. “The entire coaching staff is looking forward to next year.”