Avonworth boys’ soccer team places second in state

The team, with medals and trophy, in a post-game photo, along with athletic director Tim Giel (left) and coaching staff (right). Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

It would have been great for the Avonworth boys’ soccer team to return last Friday from the Hershey state playoffs against Millville High School (21-2) with a victory. But even though the game ended 2-0 -- not in the ‘Lopes’ favor -- they definitely could not describe the experience as being a loss.

Friends and parents, plus three busloads of students and teachers were on hand to watch the team play with camaraderie, skill, and never-give-up spirit, the qualities that took them to the playoff berth.

“After the game it came to my attention that all of the classrooms in elementary, middle school and high school were watching the game. That is unbelievable and makes me very proud of what the boys have accomplished. The support from the entire Avonworth community has floored us,” head coach Tom Angell said.

The quest for the gold soccer ball trophy began back when this year’s senior players were freshmen, kicking into high gear with this year’s opener and following through to their 23-0-1 season record.

“We knew we had a chance to have a very special year and the state playoffs were within reach. Actually getting there and advancing as far as we did was amazing,” Angell said.

Already looking ahead to 2019, Angell said, “We will be missing a historic senior class, but we have a very solid base returning and a hungry group of younger players ready for more action. The playoff experience will help all of the returning players.”

That “historic” senior class included nine players on the team, several who possibly will being playing at the college level. “There has been interest from many college coaches,” Angell said.
Summarizing the spirit that makes athletes winners, he added, “We can't wait to start indoor ‘futsal’ (an indoor soccer-style sport) and outdoors in the spring. We love the game and we love each other and just want to keep playing.”

Seniors Sam Guzzo and Michael Mucha represented all of their teammates when speaking of their appreciation of their coaches’ post-game comments. “They told us that there was no reason for us to hang our heads. And Coach Angell said, ‘No team in Avonworth history has ever made it to state finals. We are very proud of all of you. Make the bus ride home fun, because we’ve had a great year!’”