High school boys soccer sectionals begin this week, and while local teams are excited to be here, they are also appreciative of the fact they were able to finish the regular season.
"Honestly we're just surprised that the season continued," said Gibson Southern Head Boys Soccer Coach Chris Barthel. "We thought every game was going to be our last game because of Covid, so we try to get the boys together every night and say make this your best game because it might be the last one you ever play."
"Throughout the season we missed a couple players here and there, maybe one player missing but everybody's back now," said Gibson Southern Senior Ryan Ziliak. "Everybody's healthy so we're ready to go full steam in the post-season."
"It's just been really fun, and I'm glad to have these guys with me everyday," said Gibson Southern Senior Justin Barthel. "They're a bunch of really good guys and good friends."
Gibson Southern posted a mark of 15-0-1 in 2020 and the team attributes its success to changes made from last year to this season.
"We're a really good passing team and in years past we haven't had good enough players to pass the ball like we have," said Justin Barthel. "We used to play kickball in the past but now we can actually possess the ball."
"Our defense has done a lot better at tracking runners and just marking up a lot better." said Ziliak. "I think our defense is one of our best attributes."
The Titans fell in last year's sectional title match to Washington, and while they have revenge on their minds, they also have higher aspirations beyond the sectional round.
"We've got a lot of great players," sais Chris Barthel. "Like I said, our offense and defense is an improvement over a great team we had last year. So when they are playing at their best, and right now everyone's healthy which hasn't been the case most of the year, anything is possible right now."
"Washington has beat us the past three years so we definitely want to kick their butt in the sectionals," said Ziliak. "We just really want to have a successful postseason. I've just been playing with these guys since I was 6 years old so every year we just grow stronger and become better friends and just improve together."