691 days. There were 691 days between the last William Monroe High School Lady Dragons soccer game in 2019 to their first one against Eastern View High School on Friday, April 30. Coronavirus shut down the spring 2020 sports seasons after only a couple weeks of practice, but the girls didn’t miss a beat, hitting the pitch after the extended absence and defeating the Cyclones 8-1.
Mother Nature didn’t offer any help to the athletes on the field, with heavy cloud cover, intensely strong winds and even some raindrops throughout the evening. But the Dragon girls’ intensity remained high throughout, just happy to be back on the field. Junior Alex Sharff had three saves in goal on the night.
Captain Sydney Dombrovskis, a senior forward, found the back of the net in the first 30 seconds of play last Friday for the first of her four goals on the night. And again, at the 7-minute mark, Dombrovskis found the upper 90 of Eastern View’s net.
Cyclones senior Abigail Schadly’s kick found the back of the Dragons’ net at 10 minutes, but it was the only time that would happen. Dombrovskis scored again in the 14th minute.
The Cyclones had most recently defeated Warren County High School 8-1 on Monday, April 26.
Senior midfielder Mackenzie Sprouse brought the score to 4-1 at the 37th minute, where it remained at the half. Dombrovskis picked up an assist on the play.
“Coming out today with the excitement that we had and getting the result of 8-1 in the first game is amazing,” Dombrovskis said. “We had a lot of scorers today. I think it was a great start and I think we’re going to have a great season this year.”
After the half, junior midfielder and captain Sydney Devory found the upper-90 in the 43rd minute. Junior midfielder Emma Dean scored at the 50th minute with a high kick that fell just behind the goal into the net. At the 69th minute, Dombrovskis hit the back of the net again for William Monroe. In the final two minutes, Devory scored on a free kick from around the 35-yard line.
“We’ve talked about it all week, it’s just been a world of emotions—nervous, excited, proud of the girls for everything they’ve endured this past year,” said head coach Jeremy Lamm. “We lost a lot—not even just soccer, but across the board every program lost so many kids because they got used to not doing anything. But, for us, Mackenzie Sprouse came out in the best shape we’ve ever seen her in. Ari (Mosqueda) came out in great shape. Sarah (Earle), Dom (Dombrovskis), Dev (Devory), you know they’re solid and come in and the desire is there.”
Lamm said freshman Sydney Orange, in her high school season debut on Friday, is one of the best on the field this season, as well.
“I definitely feel safe and that everyone loves each other (on the team),” Orange said. “At first I was like we need to start putting it together and today, we did.”
There was only roughly two weeks of preseason practice in this condensed season when there is usually more than a month with a couple of scrimmages, as well.
“I love the energy and getting my foot back on the ball,” Orange said.
Devory said it means so much being back on the field.
“I haven’t been out here really since my freshman season and I feel like the team has grown so much since then. It’s just so awesome to get back,” Devory said. “I think we played great and came out with all the aggression and pent-up energy that we’ve had all week at practice and just left it on the field.”
Lamm said he’s stressed that this season is definitely game-by-game because it’s uncertain if the season could be shuttered if a player tests positive for COVID-19 on the Dragon squad or an opponent or if the team would be able to make up any game canceled for inclement weather due to the shortened cycle.
“We got a shirt made at the end of last year that said ‘undefeated’ on the back,” Lamm said. “Everybody got a good kick of out it, but if game by game we keep winning it’ll be true this year, too.”