Spartans Soccer Plays Through See-Saw Season

Team showed fight despite a 6-18 season


By Daniel Kasperan

Marian Catholic Men’s Varsity Soccer Team was an underdog team this year.  Throughout most of the season, the Soccer Spartans were close to their opponents on the scoreboard, but often failed to prevail.  Though their overall record is lamentable at 6-18 (1-9 in conference play) the disappointing record masks a motivated team that refused to fall apart.

“We just need to stay together as a team,” said defensive player Jacob Medina.

Looking back over the season, it is clear the struggle wasn’t always against the other team.

So when these Spartans showed dominance winning their first regional game against Providence, with a resounding a four point win difference, maybe it shouldn’t have been a surprise. 

It was the type of win that sparked confidence.

In an interview after the Providence victory, forward/midfielder Jalen Williams was quoted exuding hope before their Oct. 22 showdown.

“We came out strong and we were winning, almost all the way through the game, and then they came back,” Williams said. “So, I’m feeling very confident for this upcoming game that we could keep ‘em; like we can be ahead for the whole game and then get the win.”

The sophomore star, No. 9, saw a reason that the future could be brighter.

“I feel that our team chemistry went up from the win because everybody’s more confident and we feel like we can do better things with each other on the field, and even off the field,” Williams said. “And I feel like the win helped us build up as a team together.”

The build up of this team was hard fought over a difficult season.


Flashback to September and the start of Spartan men’s soccer.

After losing five consecutive matches at the Reavis Rams Soccer Invitational, the Spartans were defeated by the Amos Alonzo Stagg Chargers. 

Despite this bumpy start to the season, the Spartans were victorious in their next game. The Spartans were triumphant in a 5-0 victory against Providence Catholic Sept. 4, establishing their first win of the season. 


What followed were mixed results in Wisconsin. Up North, Marian Catholic won a game and lost two games.  The Spartans used their momentum to defeat Richards 3-1 Sept. 14.  The Spartans had the high ground, defeating three of their next five opponents. 

For defensive player Jacob Medina, the Wisconsin experience helped the team grow. 

“I think this team is the most talented team I’ve ever been on,” Medina said.

Yet, Medina would be the first to admit that the team had its faults. 

“We were really hyped, and then we started losing: just losing games we should’ve won, not being focused, not being ready, not playing for each other,” Medina said. “So we ended up losing our first couple games. We couldn’t finish games. We couldn’t win games. And then we went to Wisconsin Dells, Great Wolf Lodge.”  

Wisconsin is where the whole team refocused.

“Before Wisconsin Dells, like I said before, we weren’t a team, we weren’t a family.  We were just mostly playing for ourselves. Everyone just wanted to play for themselves, not for the team.  So we go to Great Wolf Lodge,” said Medina.  “That night everyone on the team, we all met, we all were just hanging out. It was the most fun in the four years I’ve ever had at Marian.” 

The Wisconsin Trip was a turning point for the team and really improved their chemistry together.

Then, the momentum hit a wall with consecutive losses to Carmel Catholic and Benet Academy.


At 10 a.m. Saturday morning, Sept. 25, Marian Catholic met Notre Dame at Dave Mattio Field in a microcosm of the season.

The Dons were 11-1-1. The Spartans had a hard-earned 4-9 before this conference matchup. 

First kick went to Marian Catholic. Within the first couple minutes, the Dons and Spartans had breakaway chances, but couldn’t capitalize. 

After five minutes of a back and forth game, a Notre Dame player cycle-kicked the ball into the net off a deflected pass about eight feet from the Spartan’s goal.  Notre Dame took the lead 1-0.  The Spartans held their defense for another minute before Notre Dame scored again off of a head-in from a corner kick from the right.  Now, the Dons led 2-0.  Marian Catholic’s offense had some tight opportunities with upfield passing directed towards #9 Williams.

The sophomore forward had some close opportunities to score, but the Notre Dame defense withstood.  About twelve minutes later, Williams scored off an angled 20 yard assist from Christian Avila.  Williams pulled a quick step right and bounced the ball right in.  The Spartans were down 2-1. They were staying on the field with the Dons.    

But, despite valiant efforts by Spartan goalie Parker Knueppel, saving Don shot attempts. Then, once again, Notre Dame scored after a fundamental Marian Catholic mistake. The Spartan goalkeeper mishandled the ball and the Dons swiftly covered the ball and tapped it into goal. 

Throughout the remainder of game, the Spartans played little offense as the Dons continued to ferociously attack offensively.  Marian Catholic withstood the attempts one after another.  What little offense the Spartans had quickly diminished from an onslaught by Notre Dame’s defense and relentless offense. The Dons won 3-1. That score doesn’t describe the amazing effort put up by the Spartans or what the team could be capable of at any moment. 


Then the losses started piling up high.  A 3-2 overtime loss to Marist.

Next came Marian Central. There were some opportunities for both sides, but not enough for a goal to be scored in regulation.  In overtime, the Spartans defended the goal until the Hurricanes scored off of a left corner corner-kick; where the Hurricanes headed the ball into the net. The final was 1-0, another Spartan loss. 

And then the Spartans lost the next five games in a row to Homewood-Flossmoor, Nazareth, Bloom Township, St. Patrick, and St. Rita.

Finally, the Spartans found another win against Crete-Monee, 4-3, on Oct. 13. 


The Spartans ended their season with a win…and a final loss.

The ended with a loss, as most seasons do on the soccer field for the last time.

Marian Catholic lost against Marist RedHawks Friday. 

Will the team learn the lessons of Wisconsin and will they come soon enough to make next season different?

Only time will tell.