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Miracle on the pitch

Dean Tae '24

Oct 8, 2022

It has been a terrific season for the Blue Storm boys soccer team. Although the team’s start was slow, the players have made remarkable progress, winning three consecutive Mid-Atlantic Prep League games over three weeks, guaranteeing the team a winning record in the league. The team is younger than in previous years, with tenth and even ninth graders seeing ample field time.

The team has been working towards a mutual goal: playing as a team and bringing positive energy to the pitch. The coaches, summer programs director Peter Kallin and department teacher Skyler Clark, have been pushing their athletes to play for one another and trust one another on the field. 

The younger players, in particular, have been demonstrating hard work and great energy throughout the season. Miles Maggioncalda ’23 said, “The young guys on the team have been terrific. They have come every day to training with a positive attitude and a desire to work hard and learn.” 

Chuks Ugori ‘23 agreed: “Personal shoutout to Simon, Grant, Gaven, Jaekwan, Max, Tahir, and Chris. These boys have all stepped up in their first year here, doing an amazing job. They show up to every training session working hard and playing hard in games too” (referring to Simon Brennan ’26, Grant Wilkinson ’26, Gaven McGuire ’26, Jaekwan Kim ’26, Max Zhang ‘26, Tahir Hasanov ‘26, and Chris Ametepe ‘25).

The determination that players share is crucial to the team’s success. “Being young and on varsity makes me feel like I always need to live up to everyone's expectations, even if that is not true. Although it can be rough at times, I just try my best and be as open as possible to new information and critique,” said Gaven McGuire ’26. 

The captains and seniors on the team have worked to guide new teammates to become more confident and comfortable. “Early in the season I was intimidated by the speed and size of some players. But as the season has gone on, I have gotten more comfortable. Miles, Chuks, Ken, Dan, Kellian, Adam, Augie, Giacomo, and Francis are great leaders and have made me a better, more confident player” Wilkinson said (referring to Maggioncalda, Ugori, Ken Akiyama ’23, Dan Zagorii ‘23, Kellian Sisovic ‘23, Adam Malmud ‘23, Augie Bennett ‘24, Giacomo Oliva ‘23, and Francis Betkowski ‘23).

Also enhancing the boys’ performance has been their team chemistry. “I feel like the team spirit is a lot different from last season. Last season I felt like a lot of players were getting on with each other after a mistake, but this season I think that we have each other's back and are becoming more united. Also, I think that the movie Miracle put a spell on us,” said Akiyama, in reference to a movie the team watched during practice. The team has enjoyed a winning streak after this inspiration. 

“We all support each other and are friends outside the soccer field too. I also think we gained a little bit of hope and belief in ourselves that we didn't have last year when our coaches made the unorthodox decision of having us watch the movie Miracle instead of training one day,” said Ugori. 

“We have a tight-knit group and we all want to do our best. We push each other in positive ways and have worked extremely hard in every single training session,” agreed Maggioncalda. 

The team is optimistic about its upcoming games. The Storm has one more match against the Hill School this season, a game that will decide Mercersburg’s position in MAPL’s soccer standings. The team has also qualified to compete in the PAISAA playoffs, adding more games to their season. Blue Storm boys soccer plans to keep the momentum rolling as they compete against Hill.

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