Redemption: The story of the 2020 varsity soccer team

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Jeff Dresser

After years of preparation and heartbreak, the team finally celebrates with their first state title in the soccer program’s history.

Griggs Blankenburg, Staff Writer

Three…two…one… the buzzer sounded from the scoreboard. The team dogpiled right outside the left box. The CCS varsity men’s soccer team had done it after years of hard work and practice. Having faced much adversity this season, the team finally obtained the ultimate prize: the state championship. 

Head Coach Jeff Dresser dropped to his knees. “I was just praising God. I could not believe it and was overwhelmed seeing all these kids who had not played a big role throughout the year and those who played big roles come together,” said Coach Dresser.

Last year the season ended in a heartbreaking 1-0 loss in the state championship. After this devastating loss, the team got to work and put in the time during the offseason and summer. 

“One of our highlights of our year was beating Weslyn the first time 3-0. It was a road trip and it showed who Carmel Christian really was” says senior Jordan Rebsamen. “A low light was our one loss to Rabun Gap. We fought through this and it made us stronger than ever.”

The pieces were all coming together and anticipation was mounting as they advanced through the tournament.  Then, as the team was beginning practice before their state quarterfinal game, a phone call changed the trajectory of the rest of the season, altering the starting lineup. Four seniors, Luke Foster, Jordan Rebsamen, Sai Phut and Will Damesek, were ruled out for the rest of the season due to contact tracing from a positive COVID-19 test in the high school.

“My first thought [was] ‘What can we do or I do to help them play?’ I can try and do everything I can to have them be able to play. We were really gonna have to figure out what to do. We have to figure out how to get [the team] to come together,” said Coach Dresser.

A win in the quarterfinal game brought the team one step closer to their goal, but COVID-19 was not done wreaking havoc on this team; three more players, Carson Holbrooks, Matthew Goodale, and Theo Karres were ruled out due to contact tracing.

In the span of four days, the team was down seven players. “We were shocked at first, but the captains did a good job of calming people down and letting them know we would be able to do the best no matter who was on the field,” said senior Jackson Dresser

The semifinals game was on Tuesday, November 3rd. The team ended up winning 4-0, including a hat trick from junior Noah Beherman.

Only one game stood between the team and the title.

After firing the ball into the back of the net, senior Ty Morgan runs to celebrate with his teammates and students standing on the hill.

The team now faced their most challenging opponent yet: the Rabun Gap Eagles. After a split record against the Eagles, the Carmel Cougars now had to play without seven players. “We knew we didn’t have six starters and we knew we had to lock in and get better every practice, because we still had work to do,” said senior Jayce Shirley.

A scoreless first half meant the last 45 minutes of the game would determine the state champions. 

With about 28 minutes remaining, senior Jayce Shirley assisted junior Noah Beherman’s header securing the first goal of the game.

“A goal in the state championship game is huge and super exciting,” said junior Noah Behrmann. The scoring did not stop there. With 13 minutes remaining, senior Ty Morgan scored the second and final goal. Senior KJ Sparks, starting goalie, continued to stop every shot that came his way, as the Eagles desperately tried to fight their way back into the game.

Three…two…one…game. The Cougars won the championship. “I think that’s the end goal as a team of any sport. you want to win the championship. Playing varsity every year, I think every single practice that’s what we were working toward, and to finally get it in my last year, it’s the perfect way to end it all,” said Luke Foster, senior captain.