For the first time in many years, the Titusville Rocket girls soccer team reached the playoffs. The went 8-8-2 in the regular season.Thursday morning District 10 awarded them a game against the 7-1 in the region and 12-5 overall Grove City Eagles. They will square off at 3 p.m. this Saturday at Franklin High School.
“For the players, this means the world to them,” said Rocket coach Kim Wheeling who sai that making the playoffs was one of the goals she and the girls set for themselves at the beginning of the year. “The girl's have worked extremely hard this season, but it actually started last winter and into the spring. I am so, so proud of them. They never give up, until the final buzzer each game and they so deserve this chance at the playoffs.”
Below is the story we wrote for this week’s Titusville News-Journal whose deadline was right when the news broke so only a sentence got added in.
Successful soccer is about finding the back of the net.
Seems simple, but have you ever tried kicking a soccer ball to hit a target?
Now put an energetic gutsy, not afraid to get hit hard , sometimes in the face, individual in the way trying to knock your shot down.
Goalkeepers are a different breed.
Titusville has a couple top-notch goalkeepers. Danica Fonzo and Joe Herman have done their best to keep the girls and boys teams in the game this season.
And for the most part they’ve done remarkably.
Fonzo’s girls have had a better season than most of the Rockets’ team in recent memory. They finished .500 and the most goals scored against them was six by a very talented North East squad. Their spirited regular season ended with a loss against Slippery Rock Wednesday which left them at 8-8-2 on the season. Thursday they were awarded a playoff game, the first in many years. They will take on the 12-5 Eagles of Grove City on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Franklin High School.
“Our season was hot and cold. We started the season on fire by winning three of our first four and our loss was in overtime,” said coach Joey Timon. “The next two games were double overtime ties. At this point Aidan Stover was leading all of our region, and I think D10, in goals scored in the season.”
But then things got a bit cold for the Rockets. Stover couldn’t find the net and their opponents were just strong. They had a seven game stretch they just couldn’t match up and few goals to the positive.
“We had a young team with a strong group of seniors. Although our number of players were down (17), we have a bright future with possibly a larger freshmen class entering next fall,” Timon said.
He pointed out the strengths of the team this year.
Senior Colin Wagner was a leader and a playmaker. “He hustled and played almost the entirety of all of the games he was in,” Timon said.
Keeper Joe Herman's voice could be heard all the way to Taco Bell during Rocket home games. Timon praised his junior, “Absolutely amazing as a keeper and is a special athlete and teammate. He leads from the net with his voice, play, and never-ending hustle. He had 4 shutouts this year.”
Timon said Jake Hauptman was an incredible defenseman. “He locked it down back there and seemed to be everywhere when the opposing team's attacked. He prevented goals, cleared the ball, slide tackled for 50/50 balls, and always hustled.”
The Rocket’s season came to an end, but they didn’t go quietly without leaving their mark and making other teams take notice.