NGVS Senior Day 2019

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NGVS Senior Day 2019

Jillian Preston, Contributor

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The Northport Girls Varsity Soccer team hosted their Senior Day for the 2019 season on Friday, October 18th. The Senior Game is always the last home game of the regular season because it could potentially be the last time the seniors get to play on their home field. It was an emotional day for the seven seniors (Captains Nina Kezys, Jillian Preston, and Dana Schoepps, and players Julia Koenig, Aidan Athanasio, Sydney Cogliati, and Meghan Parness) who reflected on their wonderful memories from NGVS. The team played Ward Melville, a very competitive team, in easily one of the most exciting games of the season. The stands were packed with friends and family of the seniors, as well as other students coming to support the team.

The Senior Day festivities started out with the revealing of the decorations for the game in the athletic hallway and locker room. As dictated by tradition, the seniors had to wait together outside the locker room until they were called in to see what surprises the team had for them. Each player had been assigned to a senior a few weeks in advance to create a personal poster to hang in the hallways during the school day and later display at the game. The players also gave their seniors a small gift to thank them for the role they played on the team. These tokens of gratitude were given right before the team went out to play. The gifts were all unique and perfectly fit the player they were given to, which showed how meaningful each senior has is to the rest of the team.

Before the game, there was a ceremony honoring the seniors in the middle of the field. Upon being announced, each of the seven girls walked out to be greeted with a hug and a yellow rose (to match the colors of the team) from their parents. The crowd cheered loudly for each senior, further emphasizing the impact the girls have made on the team. It was an especially emotional time for the seniors who were surrounded by the people they love as they were about to play their last game on their home field. Friday was the last chance for the seniors to experience the many aspects that come along with playing for NGVS at Northport. This would be the last time they would look out at their own stands and see their friends cheering for them as they left school, the last time they would be playing their own music to get hyped up before a game, and the last time they would wait for the starting whistle to blow for a game on their home field.

The game itself was very exciting; the two teams were evenly matched and hungry for victory. Every player from Northport, grade aside, played as hard as they could for the seniors.  Naturally, Ward Melville also came with the determination to win, as they wanted to beat the second seed Northport. Melville scored early in the first half off of a free kick, but that didn’t discourage the Tigers’s fight as they continued into halftime down 1-0. During the second half, Northport came back out with a new drive to win the game for their seniors. Senior Captain Dana Schoepps scored in the first ten minutes of the half which greatly lifted the spirits of Tiger fans. The half progressed with Northport appearing to be dominant for the majority. In the last five minutes of the game Northport took a heavy blow as Ward Melville scored off a free kick slightly outside the 18 yard box. This didn’t cause Northport’s persistence to falter. As the clock was winding down, Northport closed in on the Melville goalkeeper with enormous pressure. Finally with a minute and a half left in regulation play, Sophomore Lisa Kovacks scored the game tying point. The stands and players went wild with excitement. Everyone was “all in” for the seniors and wanted to a win for them. The team ran back to the midfield line to avoid wasting time. Northport was ready to score again. Eventually, the final whistle for regulation time blew with the tying score of 2-2. The game was set to go into overtime, which would consist of two 15-minute halves. The Tigers were couldn’t be happier to go into overtime. They had the momentum and were confident they could come out with a win. However, Sweeney Stadium had no lighting and it was getting too dark for the players to see. The referee was forced to call the game after 5 minutes of overtime play in the interest of the players’ safety.

Although it was a bit of a disappointing ending to the game, the team made a spectacular effort on and off the field. Every player tried their hardest and the team was still happy with how they were able to come back from being down in such an exciting end to the game. Overall, the 2019 Senior game was a great day. As with every sport, Northport High School did a wonderful job honoring the seniors for what they have given the team, something that truly distinguishes the Northport Athletic program.