PREP SOCCER: Chemistry, relationships key to turnaround of Delano soccer teams

This isn’t the same soccer program fans saw a season ago. In just one short season, the Delano boys and girls soccer teams this year have taken huge steps forward and it’s all because of one simple reason.

“Being a team,” Delano girls soccer coach Pat Prindle said about the biggest change from a season ago. “Just being a team and the confidence that comes with it. There’s just no drama. This group is just playing and they’re working for something. They want to improve. It’s building things up. The seniors are leading and the younger girls are building up to.”

A season ago, the boys and girls soccer teams combined for just seven wins. This year, both teams have hit the double digit mark in wins as they’ve combined for 23 wins this year.

“The biggest thing is chemistry,” Delano boys coach Tristin Griffin said. “These guys want it. They want to play together. Next man up is their mentality. Last year, it wasn’t that way. It was all about me. They’re putting in the work. It’s all kudos to them.”

For the Delano boys, the goal was 12 wins this season. The Tigers have already hit that mark with their win over Big Lake to end the regular season.

“That was our goal going into this season,” Griffin said. “Then it’s just building success. Going into our section, which is tough, we want success going in and to be ready for that.”

It took the Tigers just three games this season to match their win total from a season ago. It took just four games to surpass it as they opened the season on a four-game winning streak.

“Honestly, just being bonded has been big for us as a team,” Nick Farniok said. “Last year ,we were kind of disconnected and didn’t really have any chemistry. This year, we get along way better and it’s good times. We’ve had lots of fun this year.”

Delano’s fourth win of the season came on the road against Princeton. Not only was it a win on the road, it was a memory for the guys to remember.

“After last year with just three wins and now we have 12 is awesome,” Griffin said. “To see the guys happy is what it’s about. All the guys said the bus ride home from Princeton was one of their best memories. That’s what you want. You want those memories.”

The season for both the boys and the girls have been very similar. Both teams got off to hot starts only to lose a key player to injury. The Delano boys team lost leading scorer Will Strandemo for a period of time while the girls team lost a leader and all-around great player in Sidney Schmit for the season with an injury. Despite that, the wins kept coming.

“It’s that next man up mentality,” Griffin said. “These guys trust each other. They know the next guy up is going to come in and make plays. The next guys up are making plays and we’re still winning.”

“It’s obviously a big loss to lose a player like Sidney,” Prindle added. “I think what it’s done is that it’s made the team adapt, develop, and find different ways to play. It’s made players mature. It’s become how do we make things happen.”

Both the Delano boys and girls teams enter the postseason not satisfied. They’ll look to not only continue to pick up wins, but also to make more memories along the way in their turnaround seasons.

Follow Kip Kovar on Twitter – @Kovar_HJSports

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