Girls’ and boys’ soccer defeat Episcopal in South Zone counter games


Ava Leitner

Captain Nico Munoz strikes the ball.

Ella Piper Claffy, Staff Writer

In every high school soccer game that Nicolas Munoz has played against Episcopal, the Knights have scored in the first minute and a half. Less than a minute into their most recent game against the Knights, an Episcopal forward brought the ball down the field and was closing in on the goal. Maverick defenders then regained the ball, however, to score twice in the first half, maintain their lead in the second and shut out the Knights.

“I felt like the game could begin to fall apart,” senior captain Nicolas Munoz said. “I knew that we had to rally back together as a team and return to the game plan.”

On Jan. 29, girls’ and boys’ soccer beat Episcopal 4-0 and 2-0, respectively.

As the girls’ soccer team stepped onto the field to play Episcopal, two elements were at the forefront of their minds—heart and execution. 

“Every girl on that field knew that if they were going to win, they needed to play with heart and want it more than the other team,” head coach Erin Wierzba said. “They needed to execute on every opportunity they were given.” 

For the boys’ team, the win marked the end of a drought, as the Mavericks have gone winless against the Knights for the last eight years. 

“We all went in thinking that it was going to be a tough game,” said captain Marco Stix, who plays the left-wing position. “We knew we were going to have to put in 200% in order to fight for what should be ours.”

After losing to the Knights in preseason for the first time in over four years, the girls’ team was similarly fired up. 

“It was really tough after that first loss to them—we lost by one point, and everyone thought we should have won that game,” senior Charlotte Gillard said.

At the beginning of the game on Jan. 29, an Episcopal forward dribbled down the field and took a shot. Goalie Jessie Beck dove for a difficult save and blocked the attempt.

“Jessie’s save set the tone for the rest of the game,” Gillard said. “We all felt the momentum switch, and right from there, we focused and finished out the game in a much more composed way than we began.”

Captain Charlotte Gillard clears the ball from the defensive half. (Bailey Maierson)

Aside from maintaining their undefeated record for the regular season, the girls’ win took the team one step closer to their ultimate win of the SPC South Zone title, this year’s substitute for a statewide championship. Captain Katina Christensen calls the victory a crux moment in the season.

“This was the culmination of everything we had worked towards,” Christensen said. “The team really wants to win every game, but there was a sense among all of us that we needed to win this game.”

Treating the Episcopal game as the SPC championship, team moms brought tacos to school on game-day morning. Each player’s room was decorated with ceiling-hung streamers and name banners affixed above their beds.

The spirit surrounding the Episcopal games designated the Knights as the toughest rivals of the season. It also served as a reminder of the end of the season and, for some players, their Maverick soccer careers.

“This has been such an unpredictable season, but it was an honor to have the opportunity to spend Monday through Friday with these girls and help them get better as people, as leaders and as soccer players,” Wierzba said.