As T.C. Williams girls’ soccer captain and defender Amy Greco limped off the field with a sprained ankle during last Friday’s game against West Potomac, it occurred to coach Williams Heresniak just how depleted his squad had become over recent weeks.
A team that started with 19 players, the coach had a dilemma with just two choices he could make to replace his fallen leader in the back. The Titans have endured a rash of injuries this season that no team in the area can empathize with.
Including Greco, seven players have missed some amount of game time due to injury, forcing younger, less experienced players to the forefront and in the process, derailing what once looked like a promising season.
“The injuries are really hurting us,” said Heresniak after his team dropped games to West Potomac and Annandale this past week. “We have fewer options on the bench to go to.”
<b>THE EFFECTS</b> are noticeable when one takes a glance at the Patriot District standings. After beginning the season with four-straight non-district wins, T.C. Williams has yet to win a game against a conference opponent thus far, amassing an 0-4-2 record.
Part of the problem has been the strength of the Patriot District this year. Three teams — South County, West Springfield, and Lake Braddock — have legitimate regional title hopes.
Another issue is consistency. With the lineup constantly in flux, Heresniak has been unsure what team will show up. For instance, against West Potomac last week, the Titans fell behind 1-0, only to reclaim the lead with two goals in the second half.
But all of a sudden, with no time remaining on the scoreboard clock, the Titan defense broke down and allowed the Wolverines’ Gabby Katzbahn-Rush to score the game-tying goal. Afterwards, Heresniak would question whether the refs should have allowed the play to continue considering no time was left, but it was to no avail.
The momentum had changed, though, and West Potomac went on to score two goals in the overtime period to secure a 4-2 victory. It was a game the Titans had in full control only to watch it crumble beneath injuries and mysterious mental lapses.
“We’re unpredictable,” said Heresniak. “When we get fired up, we play harder and it’s like ‘Oh my goodness, we’re a new club,’ but we’re having just random breakdowns like once a game or twice a game when we’re letting in stupid goals.”
<b>THE GOOD NEWS</b> following a 3-2 loss to Annandale Tuesday night, in which the Titans “dominated the second half” according to their coach, is that help is on the way. Both Greco and junior defender Molly McNabb are rehabbing and hope to return in time for postseason play in two weeks.
And the injuries have allowed talented players like freshman striker Hannah Clark, who had a goal last Friday, and freshmen midfielders Sofie Schelder and Kirby Porterfield a chance to get valuable varsity playing time. Senior captain and midfielder Kamila Benzina has also been a rock in the middle while her team fights through adversity.
Plus, Heresniak was encouraged by the way the team played in both the West Potomac loss and the final half Tuesday night. With winnable games against Edison and Potomac on the horizon and a — hopefully — shrinking infirmary, the Titans have it in their hands to finish the season on a good note.