Senior Vols look to finish soccer season strong

The members of the 2019 Starkville Academy senior class standing with coaches Kyle Townsend, left, and Matthew Tremblay, right, are Zak Kelly, from left, Bates Bennett, Peter Seo, A.J. Willard and Nathan Pollan.

For Starkville Daily News

A disappointing 4-0 defeat to Heritage could not damper the spirits of Starkville Academy on senior night as they look to turn things around.

“In the second half, we did a lot better,” Starkville Academy soccer coach Matthew Tremblay said. “The second half was much more like how we should have been playing. We have got to make sure we have the intensity from the get go.”

When the three goals were scored by Heritage in the beginning of the game in quick succession, the players let their heads drop.

Bates Bennett, a senior, said that they need to meet that challenge and play harder at the start of matches.

“We have got to embrace that we are down and we need to make something happen,” Bennett said. “We come out sluggish and looking to play for a tie, then we go down and all of a sudden, we are forced to play hard. We need to come out with the same intensity.”

That intensity moving forward for the Vols is going hard into challenges, not being afraid of contact, and winning every ball.

Tremblay said that is just a matter of intention by the team.

“They just got to want it,” Tremblay said. “It is just trying to get them to want it, to get every ball and be the first there.”

Tremblay said the seniors have been crucial in the control of possession and the communication for defenses.

The Starkville Academy seniors for 2019 are Bennett, Zak Kelly, Peter Seo, A.J. Willard and Nathan Pollan.

“Seniors have been great," Tremblay said. " They have been the anchor in our midfield and in goal. They have rocked the center of the field this whole year and they have been a good leadership group for us.”

For Bennett, this team means very much as he has grown up as a Volunteer. Bennett said his brother and friends have made him a better player as well.

“I started going to school here in kindergarten and I’ve played soccer here for four years now,” Bennett said. “I’ve enjoyed it. The players the coaches have all been good. My brother is down there with a bunch of friends and I’ve known them since pre-school.”

Peter Seo is an international student and he said that the team has been great for him during his time at the school.

“Starkville Academy provided me an environment to play soccer in a good environment,” Seo said. “They have always been encouraging to me. I may not have been a good player, but I’ve been a part of this team for three years.”

In those three years, Starkville Academy has grown on Seo.

“I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of this team,” Seo said. “It means a lot to me, not just the soccer, but Starkville Academy.”

While senior night ended in defeat, the Vols (5-4-3) are still looking ahead to their next game today against Magnolia Heights and they will not let the playoffs distract them.

“We have a game (today) first we need to take care of and that is what we are focused on,” Bennett said. “Every game is just as important. We need to come out and execute."