A season ago thanks to a victory over rival Cape Henlopen in its regular season finale, Sussex Tech’s soccer team made school history. With the win, Tech had enough points to qualify for the state tournament for the first time, and as a low seed, its reward was a loss to Henlopen Conference foe Indian River. All of that, however, is a distant memory, and Tech, which returns nearly all of its roster, is looking to make a little more school history its upcoming campaign.
A season ago thanks to a victory over rival Cape Henlopen in its regular season finale, Sussex Tech’s soccer team made school history.
With the win, Tech had enough points to qualify for the state tournament for the first time, and as a low seed, its reward was a rematch with Henlopen Conference foe Indian River.
In the game, the Ravens did all they could to advance, as they played the powerful Indians to a 1-1 tie after 120 minutes before succumbing in a penalty kick tiebreaker.
All of that, however, is a distant memory, and Tech, which returns nearly all of its roster, is looking to make a little more school history its upcoming campaign.
“We want to take the next step, for us and the program,” senior Evan Lee said. “Last year we got to the state tournament, this year we want to win at least one game.”
The Ravens certainly have the talent to do so, as Lee, along with fellow seniors Nathan Zanks and Sebastian Borror, junior Ariel Espinoza, and a slew of other upperclassmen all return.
All of those players have the big game experience now that is almost a necessity for success in high school sports.
Still, it’s not so much the big games against some of the Henlopen Conference’s perennial winners like IR, Caesar Rodney and Dover, that worry head coach Carlos Villa.
“Last year we won the games we were supposed to,” he explained. “We have to do that again this year.”
Even more importantly than that to the coach, however, is developing character.
Villa, in fact, said that wins will take care of themselves, but it is his job to teach his players important life lessons.
“The longer I’ve been doing this job, the more I’ve seen that what we need to be doing is making these young men the best they can be as people,” he said. “Building good character and displaying good sportsmanship is the most important thing.
“It’s always to win though,” he added with a smile.
Winning could be a little more difficult, however, if new goalie James Smith, who is replacing graduated senior Geoffrey Morton, struggles.
The Ravens do not expect that to happen, however, Villa did mention that Smith, “has not been tested yet.”
Still, Tech is not worried about its net-minder too much, and Villa points to his team’s strong leadership from its upperclassmen as a strength that could carry the Ravens to new heights.
Plus, the leader has an all-new coaching staff, that consists of former Raven Andrew Betts and a pair of former Sussex Central players in Matt Jones and Brett Cordrey.
“There is a lot of enthusiasm with the new blood,” Villa said of his coaching staff. “I’m feeding off it too.”
Tech will get a chance to show that enthusiasm Sept. 5 when it kicks off the season at Worcester Prep (Md.) at 3:45 p.m., and the Ravens’ first home game, versus Seaford, is scheduled for Sept. 11 at 5:30 p.m.