Girls Soccer Season Comes to an End

Leah Tyrrell, Editor

Tuesday night, the Lady Tornadoes played the St. Mary Vikings in the semi-final of the district tournament. Unfortunately, Tilghman fell just 1 goal short, meaning their season would end while the Vikings would progress to the championship game. While it came to an upsetting end, the girls’ season was a good one, especially with all the obstacles they encountered throughout.


At the beginning of July, in the middle of summer training, former coaches Armando “Tico” and Jessica Güell announced they would be accepting job offers at Bethel University and therefore unable to continue coaching the team. With hardly any notice, the board had to rush to find a coach that would be willing to fill in temporarily until they found a permanent coach. John Newsome, an ESL teacher and coordinator of the yearbook here at Tilghman, graciously stepped up to the challenge the night before the next practice—quite literally six hours in advance. “I didn’t want [the girls] to be unable to play just because they didn’t have a coach,” Newsome says, “The first and most difficult to overcome was to put myself in coaching shape. I love the game of soccer, but I have been so busy with other things in my life that I hadn’t thought about it in at least 3 years, o I spent hours looking over drills, watching videos, reading about strategy and soccer terminology, and just generally reintroducing myself to the sport.” All this while dealing with COVID’s restrictions made the adjustment challenging, but worth it.


Despite having to quickly adjust to the sudden change in coaching as well as the obstacles that came with COVID-19, the girls stepped up to the challenge. Junior and captain Natalie Besaw says that these conditions taught her to be a better leader and listener as she knew she would have to listen to and represent the team to help guide Newsome’s transition. Although their record started off with three losses to some of the region’s best teams, they quickly turned it around to a 4-game winning streak. Besaw says “we lost the first three but after our first win and realizing how much potential we had when we really worked together, we turned it around.”


The district loss was a huge upset, especially among the parents and players. The game started out rocky as the girls were playing in a brand-new formation for the first time. This was no easy game for Tilghman; with a referee that demonstrated clear favoritism to St. Mary, Tilghman was hardly given the chance to play with the aggression necessary to win. About 15 minutes in, the referee gave an absolutely terrible call that resulted in a penalty kick for St. Mary. This call was off an alleged foul (that was most certainly a clean play and complete flop by the St. Mary player) that showed yet again the severe favoritism. Nevertheless, this was St. Mary’s first and only goal. The second half was different for the girls. After they changed back to their original formation, the girls were able to move the ball around the St. Mary players with ease. With 20 shots on goal and only allowing around 5 shots on goal for the opposing team, Tilghman showed a significant change in heart. However, one thing that remained constant was the biased referee. Halfway through the second half, junior Shelby Nickal was fouled while shooting the ball. However, even though she shot the ball before the whistle was blown, was fouled, and still made the shot (of course), the referee, who had originally called it a goal, repealed the call after speaking with his sideline refs. This is literally the complete opposite of what the referee is supposed to do, which is give advantages when necessary.


Though upset with the abrupt end, the girls soccer team as a whole is proud of how far they’ve come despite the obstacles they’ve faced. Newsome looks forward to the improvements he plans to incorporate in the seasons to come, and the girls prepare for an even better season next year with fewer curveballs (hopefully) and a goal in mind.