Put a ring on it

SMCHS girls varsity soccer clinched the CIF title, once again.

After four action-packed games, the SMCHS girls varsity soccer team advanced to the fifth and final round of CIF Division 1 playoffs. On Saturday, March 5 they took it to the ship and played against Tesoro High School at Corona High School.

SMCHS triumphed over Tesoro with a final score of 3-1. Sophomore Kristin Daniels scored two of the goals and sophomore Caitlin Ramirez scored one.

“Winning was one of the best experiences of my life,” Daniels said. “Every player on the team worked so hard all season, so winning the CIF championship was a dream come true.”

Seniors who have been on the varsity team since the 2013-2014 season, their sophomore year, have now won the CIF title twice.

“It feels surreal,” said senior Madeline McFerren. “It is unbelievable to win CIF once let alone twice. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to play with such a high-level program.”

For the two-time CIF winners, the game felt like a blast from the past.

“I never thought I would be in that stadium again playing for another CIF championship,” said senior Michelle Reiss. “Especially with the same teammates and best friends that were with me two years ago.”

The team has fostered a relationship that has helped them beyond the long road to CIF finals, contributing to their success. Their ability to come together as not only a team but as a family is what the players cherish the most.

“I think the biggest contributing factors to our success are our team chemistry and the insane amount of talent on our roster,” said senior captain Natalie Kennedy. “Everyone on the team loves each other and gets along super well.”

In the CIF semi-final game against Harvard West Lake, Kennedy injured herself when colliding in the air with another player. It was the chemistry between all of the players on the team that gave them hope for finals.

“One of the most devastating moments was when [Natalie Kennedy] got hurt in the middle of the semi-final game,” Reiss said. “We could have easily given up, but we knew that we had to do it for Natalie and for ourselves. After powering through that moment we knew we were going to be the next CIF champions.”

Despite the inconvenient setback, the team persevered by focusing on defeating the talented teams that stood in the way of their CIF title.

“It definitely was a long road to get to the finals,” Kennedy said. “But we took it one game at a time and just focused on what we had to do to get the result in each game. We fought for each other in every game and left everything on the field.”

For each player on the team, winning CIF is an experience that highlights the value of their SMCHS soccer family.

“It’s hard to describe the feeling of winning CIF because it’s everything my teammates and I have been working for these past four months,” Reiss said. “I think the best way to describe winning is just complete happiness and for me that moment of ‘we’re going to win’ was the first goal we scored against Tesoro when Natalie and I immediately started crying because we were so happy.”