Soccer team undefeated in conference

Guccio pounces on the ball in game against Holly Springs. He has seen the back of the net 6 times so far in conference play.

Mikaela Keldsen, Online editor

The boys’ varsity soccer team has started off strong, establishing a sense of Cougar pride through their 7-1-2 record as week four of the season concluded.

Their most recent win came Sept. 6 versus Leesville 4 to 2. The Cougars hadn’t topped the Pride in four years.

Senior midfielder Yennairy Pena emphasizes the need to stay focused and determined in order to continue the team’s initial success.

“So far this year we have on a pretty good streak with tying two games, winning seven out of the ten we have played. The key to doing well on any team is to stay on point, and to always be putting in your best effort along with confidence,” Pena said.

The inspirational leader of the team, head coach Rick Pittarelli, points to the team’s work ethic as a factor in their early success.

“These young men have been working hard all summer, staying focused, setting their own goals and team goals,” Pittarelli said. “I believe the chemistry of these players has gotten stronger and reflects the desire to perform well on and off the field. Success will be defined every time we step on the field.”

Pittarelli places an importance on the idea of leadership throughout the team.

“The best answer I can give is the definition of leadership I came up with when coaching travel baseball. Leadership requires the unique ability to take the result of something, good or bad, and turn it into opportunity.  The captains have a difficult job because they not only set the standard, they have to live it,” Pittarelli said.

While continuing the season, senior captain and goal keeper Krystian Serwinski hopes to develop both knowledge and skill.

“I think we still need to work on our chemistry for the most part. We have a lot of new guys, so I think we need to work on playing together as a team on the field,” Serwinski said.

As the team begins conference play this week, they will need to focus on many different areas in order to stay successful.

“Conference play will be addressed the same way we look at non-conference opponents: one game at a time. We will approach each game keeping our focus, executing our style of play, accepting each opponent as a challenge to make us better. As the season progresses, we must maintain our mental toughness and continually focus on making the playoffs,” Pittarelli said.

Despite suffering a 4 to 0 defeat at Athens Drive Sept. 10, Pena remains optimistic about the make-up of this year’s team.

Pena said, “This year our team has improved a lot since our previous season. We have definitely became closer and have bonded a great amount. I’m excited to see what the rest of this season will bring to for our team.”

The team is pleased with its recent conference success, the Cougars outlasted both the Corinth Holders Pirates last Thursday, with a 6-0 shutout, and a 5-0 shutout against the Rolesville Rams this Monday.

Noah Pittarelli, senior captain and defender, urges his team to stay focused, as they have bigger competition on the horizon.

“I am very pleased with my teams’ performance out on the field. Our key component above all else is our brotherhood. We stand together and push each other to perform to our best level out on the field. You can see leadership from every player in one way or another,” Noah Pittarelli said. “No matter the opponent, it is important for us to humble ourselves, and play our level of soccer. We can’t back down against the better competition and we can’t play a lower level of soccer just because we think we are better than a team.”