The Grant High School women’s soccer team got bumped from the first round of the OSAA state playoffs by South Medford, losing the away game 2-1.
Jazmin Shaffer, a senior center back on the Generals, said the communication during the game was lacking. “We just weren’t organized that game,” she said.
The five-hour drive south to Medford may have also contributed to the loss. “Everyone was kinda tired,” said Shaffer. “Long car rides aren’t that great. (Having) five hours before the game, I think kind of affected (it) a little bit.”
For those who were seniors and had been playing on the team for four years, it was a sad ending to the season. “I cried right after the game,” said senior captain Maddie Casey, who played forward and wing for Grant. “Right after the whistle blew.”
Overall, the season went well, as the team compiled an 8-4-3 record. But there were a few bumps along the way. “…It was a season of rebuilding,” said senior and captain Kenna Tyler.
The team had more younger players than previous years. Coach Manolis Tjuanakis was in his first year with the program. And there were a string of injuries.
Tyler and center-midfielder Allie Day both tore their ACL’s during games. Other players experienced concussions, ankle sprains and hip injuries.
“We played one game with a full, healthy team,” said Casey. It was a pre-season game in early September.
Because of the injuries, a number of players had to switch roles to fill in for those who were out. A few players on the JV team also rose up to fill the spots of injured players.
“When you take someone out of the equation, you have to completely like reform the positions and what you play, which is tough,” Casey said.
But despite the shifting, the team had a tighter bond this year. “Socially in past years, people have been really separated,” said Casey.
Said Tyler: “Our class was really trying to make sure that everyone was feeling welcome and like everyone felt like they were actually part of the team.”