Boys soccer makes history

Despite loss to San Antonio Southwest, Knights go furthest in playoffs since 2006

Adrian+Martinez+dribbles+past+a+San+Antonio+Southwest+Dragons+defender+during+McCallum%E2%80%99s+third+round+playoff+game+at+Rattler+Field+in+San+Marcos+on+April+5.+The+Knights+fell+to+the+Dragons+2-0%2C+which+ended+their+season.+Despite+the+loss%2C+this+year%E2%80%99s+team+had+a+successful+season%2C+going+farther+in+the+playoffs+than+the+team+has+since+2006.

Gabby Sherwood

Adrian Martinez dribbles past a San Antonio Southwest Dragons defender during McCallum’s third round playoff game at Rattler Field in San Marcos on April 5. The Knights fell to the Dragons 2-0, which ended their season. Despite the loss, this year’s team had a successful season, going farther in the playoffs than the team has since 2006.

Steven Tibbetts, sports editor

By the time McCallum’s varsity soccer team stepped onto Rattler Field in San Marcos to face off against the San Antonio Southwest Dragons, the Knights had already gone farther in the playoffs than the team had in the past 13 years.

“We went further than we have since 2006 and the furthest we’ve ever gone in my tenure as a coach,” head coach Nick Martin said.

So when the final whistle of McCallum’s season blew and the team fell 2-0 to the Dragons, the Knights were still proud of their season overall.

“We accomplished so much that we were all happy,” senior Anthony Bataille said. “Obviously, we wanted to go further. We all played very well and it was just a great game.”

At the beginning of district play, the Knights looked like a team that might struggle to even make the playoffs, let alone win a couple of playoff games. Through six district games, the Knights were only able to get one win. However, the Knights then caught fire over the next six district games, winning five of those and securing a spot in the playoffs. This turnaround in the Knights season came because the team started playing more together and less individually.

“We all started clicking, playing as a team,” senior team captain Adrian Martinez Castro said. “At the beginning of the year it was kind of individual, but then we started playing as a team, so we got better.”

Gabby Sherwood
The Knights huddle up at Rattler Field during their 2-0 loss to the San Antonio Southwest Dragons. “We accomplished so much that we were all happy,” senior Anthony Bataille said. “Obviously, we wanted to go further. We all played very well and it was just a great game.”

Martin agrees that unselfish play is what ultimately allowed the Knights to achieve so much this year.

“When you have a group of players who want to make everyone look good and not playing selfishly, you’re going to have a successful team and we had that this year,” Martin said. “And that makes all the difference.”

Sophomore goalie Vaughn Burger believes that the player’s good relationships with each other allowed the team to succeed with a team-oriented style of play.

“I think our relationship, we’re all friends, it helped,” Burger said.

Despite their success in the second half of district play, it wasn’t until the Knights won their first playoff game, a 1-0 victory of Boerne-Champion that included a goal by Martinez and a shutout by Burger, that the team knew they were capable of a special season.

“The first round of playoffs was when we really knew we can do this, we can go further,” Bataille said. “This was supposedly the second best team in San Antonio and we knew that. We went out there and we beat them and it felt good. It was like, ‘Alright, it we’re good, we can go far’.”

For Martin, that win was just one of many special moments throughout the season.

“Destroying Austin High in the beginning of the season was great,” Martin said. “Winning our first playoff game was great. Winning our second game was great. There wasn’t one moment, there were many wonderful moments throughout the season.”

Goals by Bataille, junior Lucas Ramos de Barros and senior Marcel Lopez Reed, carried the Knights to a 3-1 victory over San Antonio Southside in their second round playoff win, which secured the team’s best result since 2006.

Senior Anthony Bataille advances the ball past a San Antonio Southwest defender during the Knights’ 2-0 loss on April 6. Photo by Gabby Sherwood.

For the seniors, the loss to San Antonio Southwest in the third round of the playoffs meant the end of not only a great season, but a great career with McCallum soccer. The seniors who were on the varsity team last year were a part of a miraculous mid-season turnaround which helped the Knights reach the playoffs for the first time in four years. And this year, they lead the team to its best season in 13 years. What the seniors are going to miss most, however, is not the results, but each other.

“I’m going to miss the guys, the great guys,” Bataille said. “It was just a fun team, good players. And going to practice with them, having the games with them, I’m going to miss all of it.”

Martin is going to miss this year’s seniors as well.

“I’m going to miss them as individuals,” Martin said. “You get to know them over four years and as players they’re wonderful, but as people they’re even better. I will miss being around those guys because they’re all very good people individually.”

For the rest of the team that will be back with McCallum soccer next year, their focus has moved on from this year’s success, to the prospect of next season.

“I don’t think we will be where we were, because all of these great seniors are leaving, but I think we’re looking forward to some good talent coming in,” Burger said.

Martin is also looking forward to seeing some new faces on the varsity team next year.

“I always like seeing who is going to step up and improve from JV or a varsity sub because when the seniors leave they always leave holes, so somebody has to step up and fill that space,” Martin said. “So I always like to see who is going to step up and have their game improve to such an extent that they can take that person’s space.”

If the Knights can successfully fill those holes left by the graduating seniors, the team will have a chance to achieve similar or even better success than this year’s impressive season.