With masks on, RE Varsity Boys’ Soccer opens season with 2-2 draw against Gulliver

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Richard Hanft '21

The varsity boys’ soccer team huddling before Friday’s game.

The Ransom Everglades Boys Varsity Soccer team started their season Friday night with a rivalry matchup on the road against the Gulliver Raiders that ended in a 2-2 draw. 

“While we were obviously looking to win the game, I am still quite impressed with the team. It was great to see not only the leading players of the team step up in critical moments, but also the younger guys,” said co-captain Daniel Mendoza ‘21. 

The game stayed even at 0-0 for a while, and the intensity grew until Kobe Lopez ‘23 opened the scoring with a goal in the third quarter. Although the number of fans was limited, Lopez’s goal was met with huge cheers and celebrations. The shot was from just outside the right of the 18-yard box and ended up in the opposite corner of the goal.  

“I started screaming and ran to celebrate with Kobe,” Mendoza said. “I was so shocked. He was in such an unnatural position to score.” 

Gulliver struck back quickly with a goal of their own, and everything was level again. A few minutes later, Gulliver scored once again to take the lead. “I focused on setting an example for the team on the field,” co-captain Nicolas Stone ‘21 said. ”We all knew what we had to doit was just a matter of executing it.” 

With only a few minutes remaining, RE was rewarded a free kick near Gulliver’s goal. David Pulido ‘22 took the shot, and Stone put the rebound in the back of the net to restore the tie, this time at 2-2.  

Of course I am very happy that I scored,” Stone said. ”But the most important thing in my mind is that my teammates and I contributed to the overall performance today, regardless of who scored.” 

After the result on Friday, many players saw areas in which the team could improve, but also ways in which they played well. Both Stone and Mendoza believe that the team needs to improve on controlling the ball. Mendoza also said that he was impressed with the team, as they have only had a few days of practice and were playing with masks. 

Many players were extremely excited to get started after previous uncertainties about competition. “It was so relieving that we finally got the ball rolling with our season,” Mendoza said. 

Although the season has started, it is very different from seasons in previous years. Only 2 spectators were allowed per player, and RE also played with masks. “Coming from an athlete who relies so much on the ability to properly recover from intense periods of activity, masks make it much harder to recuperate your energy,” Mendoza ‘21 said. 

“I have been one of the biggest advocates for taking precautions against the virus since March,” Stone said. “But this is a deeper issue. The masks are not really feasible to use in the physically intense environment of a soccer game.” 

Still, Mendoza thinks that the team this year is looking great, in part because many players have returned from last year. There is a lot of chemistry between players already. He also praised the team’s ability to fight back, which they demonstrated on Friday by getting the draw after being down 2-1. Though they didn’t end up with perfect result, the team is ready to bounce back against Keys Gate at home on November 24.