Tam Varsity Soccer Defeats Branson 1-0 in MCAL Semifinals

By Kiera Atashkarian

On October 24, the Tam boys varsity soccer team defeated Branson 1-0 in their MCAL semifinal match. The start of the game was marked by shouts and chants erupting from the Tam team as they came together for the pregame huddle.

Immediately after the game had started, one could feel the tension and energy eminating from both sides of the field. Tam was able to keep the ball close to the Branson goal for the majority of the first half, working to break down their strong defense. Senior and left wing Julien Melendez once again proved to be a key component of the team, scoring the first and only goal and winning the game for Tam. The victory added a sweet touch to Melendez’s birthday.

“I came fired up and I was ready to play,” said Melendez. “For the whole day I was just like, ‘I want to play this game. It’s my birthday.’ I just went out and gave it everything, so I felt like I played pretty well.”

Tam showed a lot of talent on the field; both defense and offense were playing at their peak. “To get to a third straight MCAL championship game is a very, very tough feat,” said head coach Dustin Nygaard. “We obviously, like any other team, have to grow throughout the year.”

That growth was evident throughout the game, both on the field and off. Although the whole team wasn’t able to be out on the field, the enthusiasm of the players on the field was matched by the ones on the bench, as well as the fans in the stands. Right wing senior Mohammed Manneh, who was subbed in during the first half, along with striker junior Teddy Mauze and right back junior Jackson Wong, dominated the field on the offensive side, constantly keeping the ball in scoring position. On Tam’s defensive half, junior center back Navid Dalid,  junior center mid Lucas Janetos and Tam News staff member and senior goalie Kenny Rosenberg were able to take care of the ball when it slipped onto their side.

“In the beginning [of the season] we were doing good, and then in the middle everyone started being selfish and no one was passing the ball…now we’ve come together,” said Manneh.

“They must be playing at a very high level, because they’re in the championship match. We’ve seen them once in the beginning of the year. We’re a much different team, they’re a much different team, so it should be a good match, looking forward to it,” said Nygaard.

The team now expects a promising rest of the season, and looks forward to the challenge of battling MC on Friday, November 9.