Photos by Valerie Urbanik | Oberlin News-Tribunes
Justin Mason takes the ball up the field in a scrimmage against Hearts for Jesus.
Phoenix boys soccer players are looking to redeem themselves this year and win the district championship.
The team fell 4-0 last season to Elyria Catholic in the championship game and head coach Mike Schmid is determined to win it all this year.
Schmid has high hopes for his 16-player squad to improve on its 13-4-2 record from last season and act as a cohesive unit.
“The depth’s not going to be there but I think we have a very committed team,” he said. “They come in with no fear and want to play.”
The Phoenix lost seven starters to graduation this past spring, but Schmid believes the team will find a way to fill those gaps and play a possessive type of game.
“Despite it being a young team, I’m still treating it as it’s going to be a strong year because the key is we want to bring the team together,” said Schmid, who is working to build a family atmosphere among his players. “If they can play the game together as a team, as a unit, then it’ll make it a beautiful game.”
Oberlin upperclassmen have taken the freshmen under their wings and are helping them understand the Phoenix style of play and the goals they want to accomplish.
Schmid said his returning players have big expectations for this year and are hungry to win the district finals.
“We set big goals on this team but I want the team to understand that we’re always going to achieve the small goals and take the next step to the big goal,” he said.
Wins require scoring goals, and the Phoenix did just that Tuesday in a scrimmage versus Hearts for Jesus.
Oberlin kept the ball well through the midfield and found openings up front to score seven times.
The Phoenix will take on Willard in their home opener at 7 p.m. Aug. 21.
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.