The 2016 men’s soccer season finished with a bang.

The Hawks soccer team lost crucial seniors last year – forwards Skylar Decker, David Castillo, Moritz Gloesslein, and goal-keeper Ben Showard are just a few of last year’s graduating class.

Head coach Jeff Clashman was quick to fill the gaps on his team. Luckily, junior Brett Meggersee was finally able to play on the school’s team this year. As a freshman and sophomore, Meggersee could not play due to club team commitments, much like alumnus Raymond Roesler ’15.

The Hawks also had some fresh talent on the team this year, and it came in the form of freshman Stryder Rodenberg. A fast and agile player, he brought major offensive power. The Hawks used both of their new additions to fill some of the gaps left as a result of the loss of last year’s graduating seniors.

In addition to new players on the team with clear potential, such as Meggersee and Rodenberg, Clashman also had a powerful lineup stacked with returning players. Junior Alex Sparks was a vital forward, and he completed the “Big Three” idea perfected with the forwards’ roster.

Having played since his freshman year and seeing older players step up as graduation created open roles, Sparks was more than ready to accept a leadership position for the 2016 season.

Along with senior Eric Johnson and junior Alan Siqueiros, the captains of this year’s team, Sparks led the Hawks to many victories in the season. In fact, the Homecoming game against Benson was one of only a few losses in their record.

During the week of October 3, the Hawks pulled off a killer win against major rival Desert Christian. Desert has a reputation of being among the most physical and tough games in the season, both because of the energy that Desert Christian fans bring and because of the skill so abundant in their roster.

This year, the Eagles proved no match for the Hawks. The boys won with a score of 3-2. Sparks, Rodenberg, and freshman Sam Whittman all scored. The boys headed into the later games of the week ready for the last home game of the season.

Friday, October 7 marked a special day for the five seniors on the men’s soccer team because it represented the last time they would suit up and play on their home field together. After playing against Wilcox and losing 5-0, the Hawks were more than ready to head to the state tournament. They sought redemption with a passion.

The Hawks then faced Wilcox again on October 8, this time without the home field advantage. After losing in Wilcox, their regular season came to a sad close. That being said, the Hawks had a fantastic season and finished with a record of 9-3.

In speaking to seniors about their favorite moments from this season, I came into contact with two very different perspectives.

For Eric Johnson, this year marked a fourth straight on the team. He explained that, “My favorite part of being on this team was watching everyone start to really care as we got older. In the beginning, when we were freshmen, no one really wanted to win. We all sat on the bench. But as we grew up, we also started to get more competitive. Before, we were on the bench for a lot of games. Now, it’s a full 90 minutes without stopping. And losing isn’t an option.”

Lukas Schmit is a new student this year, and thus this season was his first on the soccer team. When asked about his favorite moment, he said that the Chino tournament, which occurred before the regular season actually started, was awesome. He liked that the team really started to bond then. “Beating Desert was pretty fun, too, though,” he added.

And that sums it up perfectly: even when the season came to a close, the Hawks could still be proud of the fact that they got to bond, got to seek victory, and got to – arguably the most important – beat Desert Christian again.