Starting the game off on the wrong foot, the varsity soccer team came back to one up Bishop Moore with senior Nabil Motlagh’s goal off of an assist from junior Liam Wixted with 5 minutes and 47 seconds left in the first half. TheWildcats ended up winning the regional semifinal match 2-1 Friday night. The team also secured home-field advantage for the regional final against Pierson’s DeWitt Taylor High School at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
“Interesting goal actually,” Motlagh said. “The ball was crossing of the corner and I saw it coming, I knew the ball was going to take a bounce and it went right through. I was just there to put it in as an instinct reaction.”
After the goal, a referee issued Motlagh a yellow card for excessive celebration and lifting up his shirt in unsportsmanlike conduct,” this later became a blue card as a result of a second yellow.
“Some of the calls I wouldn’t exactly agree with,” freshman midfielder Aidan Wixted said. “All in all it was just a hard-fought game. Refs can’t really change much.”
A physical game, the two teams combined for a total of 25 fouls, six yellow cards, and one blue, the stats nearly splitting down the middle.
“There’s no room out there for nice kids,” Coach Scotty Armstrong said. “They want to win it, and we want to win it. You just have to play minute by minute. We need to win the battles before we can win the war.”
A little over halfway through the second half, the close score was unsettled when captain, senior Kevin Kurtz, scored in the upper right corner. “He’s just so fast, he never gives up,” said first-year varsity player, Robert M., an eighth-grader.
Principal Rick Fleming hailed the team’s accomplishment.
“Like I said, this is historic for us,” he said. “This is the farthest our soccer team has gone, as far as I know, in the history of the school. For us, a school that is a lottery-based school, to have such a gifted and talented athletic team in soccer go this far and do this well, it is just epic for our school. I’m really proud of the kids, and I’m really happy all the fans came out. When they rushed the field like that it was just really a moving moment.”