It’s Tuesday, October 13 at 3:30 p.m. on the Granite Bay High School campus. A whistle blows, triggering the start of the varsity boys’ soccer game against Rocklin. Across campus at Ronald Feist Park, the girls’ tennis team also takes on the Thunder. Both teams have a common goal—to be section champions the second straight year.
* * *
The expectations. The pressure. The high, seemingly unreachable goals. As much of a challenge as it would seem for most people to even achieve, the GBHS boys’ soccer team and girls’ tennis team are dealing with these expectations as standards.
Last fall, both teams won their section championships. The soccer team won their championship by a score of 5-2 against Oakmont, led by standout GBHS alumni Chris Gaschen (currently playing for the soccer team at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo) Ryan Hollingshead, (playing collegiate ball at UCLA) and Nate Schorer.
“Last year’s team was one of the finest teams I will ever coach,” said Steve Fischer, the varsity boys’ soccer coach, “All of the seniors were really strong last year.”
Lucas Schorer, GBHS junior and the younger brother of Nate Schorer, embraced last year’s championship as an unforgettable one.
“It was awesome to win because of all the hard work we put into the season,” Schorer said. “But it was really special to me because I got to win it with my brother.”
With the loss of such great talents, the soccer team, although still very strong and talented, are in what Fischer calls a “rebuilding” year. On the squad this year, there are only two seniors.
“Because we graduated so many seniors, the other teams in our league think we are beatable,” Fischer said.
Fischer said that there is a lot of pressure on the team to play well, even with the loss of so may talented senior players.
“With a program like Granite Bay’s, there is a certain expectation to continue to win, but it’s hard to do,” Fischer said. “Every year (we set) new goals and new expectations.”
However young they are, the team remains loaded with standout players all over the field and the goal remains the same- to repeat as league and sections champions.
“We have a really strong team this year. I think we can win (the section title) again,” Schorer said. “It just depends how much work we put into it.”
Fischer said that he believes his team can win the title again, but it won’t be an easy road to get there.
“To win the section title, you need to have a strong team, to stay healthy, and some luck,” Fischer said. “I think that (winning the league title and section title) are both achievable goals.”
Just days after the boys’ soccer team won their section title, the Granite Bay girls’ tennis team won a championship of their own, soundly defeating league rival Del Oro by a score of 6-3.
“(Winning) really bonded us as a team,” said Karolina Kecki, a standout sophomore tennis player for the Grizzlies. “It felt good to be rewarded for all of our hard work.”
As exciting as the team was for winning the title, the girls haven’t missed a beat, picking up their success right where they left off last year.
The team lost some of their top players from last year’s squad, such as Emily Kelsey, but return a strong core group of girls in addition to some strong new freshmen.
“There is some pressure on us (because we won last year), but I think our team is stronger,” Kecki said.
The added pressure of being section champions, though, has yet to affect the play of Kecki or her teammates.
“Right now, we’re just having fun and taking it one match at a time,” said Kecki.
With victories comes confidence, which the tennis team and Kecki have in their abilities, but they are making sure not to let them get ahead of themselves.
“We’re confident in our playing, but not cocky,” Kecki said.
As Novermber draws nearer and the playoffs approach for both the boys’ soccer team and the girls’ tennis team, watch out for the Granite Bay squads. They’ll be ready to defend their title.