Editor’s note: This week we have a guest writer, as Hiland defender Grant Gingerich shares his thoughts on the 2017 Hiland Soccer season.
Any athletic contest between Hiland and Zanesville Bishop Rosecrans has come to the point of being a hotly contested rivalry. This year’s district final was no exception with Rosecrans taking advantage of a critical no-call in double overtime to knock us out of the tournament in this, my senior season.
Overall I think we had an amazing year. Some might judge our season on how far we got in tournaments and on that one game, but that does not accurately describe our season in my opinion.
“We didn’t have games where we played poorly. We played very consistent,” coach Scott Bodiker said.
From the beginning I knew we were going to have a good season. Our first game against Wooster pushed us right into the thick of things with a real intense game that ended up being a tie. I think that game got me ready for the challenging teams ahead.
The games in the beginning and around mid-season were more challenging than the games near the end of the schedule. These games were Wooster, Mansfield Christian, Western Reserve and of course Central Christian. All these games we ended up losing or tying. We were definitely up to par with these teams. In fact all of them we were leading at halftime except for Western Reserve. I don’t know what happened that we weren’t able to hold leads against teams like this other than we just lost our killer instinct or maybe our opponents found a gap in our defense. Whatever the reason, the outcome still felt very disappointing.
One highlight for me was of course the West Holmes game, which is where we scored Bods’ 1,000th career goal as head coach, and the game itself was by far the toughest game near the end of the regular season. They came out with an unexpected intensity that we couldn’t match, and we weren’t playing our game the first half. When the half ended and we were down 2-1, we were all a little shocked I would say. Finally we got our act together after receiving a good ripping from coach, one that I felt I needed personally, and we were able to finish the game with a win.
All the other games in the season I felt like we took care of business well enough. Did we play perfectly every game? No. But we did what we had to do to win, whether it was by 1 or by 10.
Then it was finally tournament time, which we were looking forward to all year with high hopes of reaching state. The first game of the tournament was, as we suspected, an easy game. That game is special to me because I got my first and only career goal that game. The second game was very similar to the first, an easy win. Then at practice I managed to roll my ankle pretty bad a few days before we played Wheelersburg. I ended up not playing that game, which really upset me, but I felt just as happy when we went home with a win.
Next up we played Rosecrans, which ended our tournament run and was a big blow to us all. We knew we could’ve beaten them. We should’ve beaten them. That’s the thing that made losing to them sting a bit more, knowing we were the better team.
At the end of the season we were tied for second for most goals scored in Hiland history and fifth for least goals conceded. “We were really successful on both ends of the field,” Bodiker said.
So all and all I would call this a successful season for a few reasons. One, because of our performance on the field and another because of all the memories I’ve made this year with my team. I’m so happy I got to be part of this team and make memories with friendships that will last forever.