Alarm clocks are blaring at early hours of the morning, there is an increase in caffeine intake, and extreme mental and physical exhaustion are apparent…all this before the first day of school.
On August twelfth, Providence athletes made their way out to tryouts, marking the beginning of the Minnesota Fall sports season. For the last two weeks, they have been working to impress their coaches, getting back into shape, and becoming familiar with their new team. All of the teams have already played in competitive games or scrimmages. A significant portion of the season takes place before school begins, which is a critical time in any team’s development.
Heading into tryouts, the girls volleyball players knew they would have a young team, losing nine seniors. Half of the team is composed of girls who were previously on JV.
Heather Leuer ‘14 states, “Our main focus this first week was getting everyone on the same page. Whenever you have a new group of girls it’s important to get them to learn how everyone else plays, so we can play as a team instead of individuals.”
In practice, heavy emphasis has been put on practicing blocking and passing. After losing a close game to Heritage Christian Academy, (3-2) Leuer expects that adjusting these areas will give the team opportunity for major growth.
“Friday’s game was a good loss against a good team; We have no reason to feel poorly about ourselves. Everyone is excited to get back to it, and fix the problems in preparation for future games,” states Leur.
The Providence Cross Country team is working on building a strong team through recruiting runners with a dedicated interest in the sport. After losing eleven seniors, the team is trying to fill the missing spots.
“The focus this year is creating a hardworking team that encourages the younger kids to stick with the team for the years to come,” states Jenny Walz ’14.
The first race of the season was against Anoka High School. One of the challenges in this race was dealing with the extremely uncomfortable heat with temperatures reaching the high 90’s.
Staying positive, Walz states, “I think it was good to help us get an idea of the younger kids abilities.”
Only losing two Seniors, the Boys Soccer team is looking forward to a strong season, having played many years together.
The team traveled to Duluth to play two of their first season games. The boys tied Hermantown 1-1 and beat Superior 3-0.
Luke Ziesmer ’14 states, “What I took away from these first games was that our offense needs to finish our opportunities. We have a very strong defense this year, and I believe that will be a large factor for a successful season.”
In practice, the boys have been working on playing one-touch soccer, playing smart, and by scoring on every chance they have.
In the future, Ziesmer believes, “We will likely prepare differently for the next games because we play better teams than the teams we played this past weekend. Our team possession will have to be better against them.”
Similar to boys soccer, the girls are also are an experienced team, only losing one senior.
The first game of the season was against Orono High School, who the girls lost to in sections in the 2012 season. This year, Orono squeaked by and beat Providence, with a score of 1-0.
“This is the best we’ve ever done against Orono and it gives us a really good outlook for the rest of the season. We’re hoping the rest of the season goes just as well as it started off,” states Paige McAuliffe ’14.
After coming so close to winning their first game, the girls’ soccer players are determined to attain positive results.
“Our focus has been bonding as a team. We have incredible players and now we just need to be able to work together,” says McAuliffe.
The pressure is on for the boys football team who made it to the section finals last season, losing in a close overtime game. This year, there are five returning players who have starting experience.
“The focus in practice early on is to define the roles of all the players and to implement the offense, defense and special teams,” states Conor White’ 13
On August 24th, the team was able to get in a competitive mindset in a series of scrimmages against Blake, St. Paul Harding, Patrick Henry and the Rockford Area Schools District.
Of what he took away from the scrimmages, White stated, “We are deep in both offensive and defensive lines and are athletes that can make plays in space.”
The first game of the season is Friday August 30th, in an away games versus St. Agnes.
“We are preparing quite well for our first game and have a few kinks to work out, but we feel very confident entering the season,” states White.
Although the girls did not lose any seniors, the team welcomed four new players to their squad.
“This year we are focusing on conditioning to build up our stamina for match play,” states Lauren Athmann’ 13.
The girls played their first tournament at Glenco-Silver Lake High School. The team lost to centennial 1-6 but defeated Glenco 7-0.
“I was happy with how we all played, but we need to improve our mental game for upcoming matches,” states Athmann.
The 2013-2014 school year kicked-off August 28th, signifying the beginning of homework and the deadline for that neglected summer reading, but for fall sports athletes, the pressure has been felt long before school even started.