By Jacqueline Risch
Tied 0-0. Second half of overtime. The clock is ticking away, every second precious in the fight for victory. With Oliver Ricken making save after save, and Nick Hudson directing the defense, the Tempe Prep Knights have no room for error. Last five minutes.
Finally, freshman Caiyu Keoviengxay scores the winning goal to end the game against the Glendale Prep Griffins! The Knights ground through the long game with enough intensity and aggression to pull through with a win, the first of many in fact! With such spirit and heart, the high school boys varsity team has a bright future ahead of them this winter.
As the season progresses, the Knights’ games start to get even more competitive with better teams every match. According to sophomore Evan Hackett, the team is “shooting pretty high this season. We’ve got a lot of people at multiple practices saying that we at least wanted to get to state.”
With the bar set high, the Knights are ready to grind every game out and give it their all. Junior goalkeeper Oliver Ricken identified goals the team has in order to help them improve the quality of their play: “When the other team is really good at passing and moving the ball, we can get a little disorganized in the back, so I think we can stay tighter and more compact. Also, a little bit more compact in the middle. I think that’ll help us break down teams a little bit more because they won’t be able to pass through us.”
He does acknowledge that “we are a great attacking team. We have four really good midfielders/attackers so we’re really good at combing through the middle and sending through-balls to our strikers.”
While the team is out on the field to win, they also have a strong connection with one another as players. Evan states that his team members “enjoy being around each other, not just during practice, but also at school. When we see each other, we’ll talk about what happened in practice or the games and it’s a great bonding experience.”
Nick Hudson agrees, saying the team is “pretty close.” While fighting hard in the game is important, the team also values connecting with other players, forming trust on and off the field.
As senior year begins to come to a close, Alex Wait and Nick Hudson reveal their aspirations for their final year. Alex hopes to see “the kids get better, and actually [enjoy] soccer. A lot of kids just see soccer as running so I don’t want that to happen. I want to see them appreciate the sport, have fun, win games, and help younger [players] improve.”
After playing for the past three years, Nick wants to “have fun. I want to win games because I feel that will be more [enjoyable]. I’d rather lose and have the best game of my life, than be miserable out there and win.”
With the first half of the season over, we’re eager to see the team members of Tempe Prep’s Class of 2019 go out with a bang!
Article by Jacqueline Risch, a student staff writer for De Equitibus, Tempe Preparatory Academy’s student newspaper.
About Tempe Prep: Tempe Preparatory Academy is a tuition-free public charter school in Tempe for students in grades 6-12 that provides a nationally acclaimed liberal arts education based on the Great Books of Western Civilization with an exceptional math, science, foreign language, humanities, and fine arts curriculum. Tempe Prep has been recognized by the Arizona Board of Regents as having the highest percentage of college graduates in the state and has been named the #1 high school in Arizona by Newsweek (America’s Top High Schools 2016). For more information about enrolling at Tempe Prep, visit the school’s website at .