The Student News Site of Omaha South High School

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The Student News Site of Omaha South High School

The Tooter

The Student News Site of Omaha South High School

The Tooter

Back: Cynthia Martinez, Luis Peña, Allan Sanchez, Ava Yang, Nathalia Linares, and Evelyn Velazquez. Front row: Grecia Colin Aguilar, Oscar David Molina-Alfaro, Sarah Gonzales and Lauren Rindfleisch.
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It’s soccer time!

Who will rise to the occasion this season?
Ryan+Kubiak+and+Genevieve+Hodoly+hope+to+make+their+marks+this+season.
Hugo Hernandez Lara
Ryan Kubiak and Genevieve Hodoly hope to make their marks this season.

Who will rise to the occasion this season?

The boys’ varsity soccer team has previously won four state championships, most recently in 2021, when they defeated Lincoln Southwest High School. The girls’ soccer team has also had some successes these past years, including having a record of nine-nine even though they had a new coaching staff last year.

Boys’ head coach Joseph Maass said he has been coaching the soccer team for 25 years. Maass said this has helped South’s team by leading them to four state championships over that period. When he started his career at South, the team had just had one of their worst seasons, but Maass said he just wanted to end the season not getting scored on 10 times a game. Around that time, the soccer team had approximately 13 players trying out for a spot on the roster.

Today, tryouts attract more than 100 players, Maass said, adding that he is ready to start the season off on a high note and believes that the preseason is the most stressful.

“Once we get moving and get our teams settled, that’s where the fun begins.”

Maass said this season’s soccer team will be different from last year due to losing 12 seniors, six of those being regular starters. Last year’s assistant coach Brandon Palmer returned after not coaching the Packers for a short time.

“I think BP had a huge impact on our team last year; he helped us make it to State with what we had, which wasn’t a lot,” said Diego Gavia, a part of the senior class of 2023.

This time around, Maass said he faced some tough decisions including who was ready to make and lead the team. But there are certain players Maass said he hopes can lead the team this season.

“I would like to see some of our returning starters from last year take leadership roles, such as the returning sophomore defenders, Ryan Kubiak and Hugo Hernandez, and returning junior attacker Jesus Gonzales,” Maass said.

Returning senior Sergio Martinez added that he’s “excited to play with the new players and see what they can bring to the team.”

Martinez is a dual sport athlete competing in both cross-country and soccer; Martinez also plays club soccer with Sting Nebraska. Martinez said he hopes to be a central midfielder and to be number eight “… because I have had that number since I started playing in elementary school.”

Martinez hopes that the fans will come out and support the team during the season because of how much they influenced the team last year. Last season, the Omaha South and Omaha Bryan game had an attendance of nearly 2,000 people, making it the most attended regular season game last year.

“This game was definitely my favorite game in my high school career because of the rivalry, and because I’ve never played in front of so many people before,” Martinez said.

Overall, Martinez said he hopes to finish his final season at South by making it to State and scoring a goal.

Returning varsity player Ryan Kubiak is also a multi-sport athlete competing in cross-country, basketball and soccer. Kubiak appeared on the junior varsity team at the beginning of the last season, but after a short period, he was moved up to having a starting spot on the varsity team.

“I’m excited to see the fans and what they bring this season especially since they were such a big advantage at our home games,” Kubiak said.

In the sixth grade, Kubiak broke his leg in a Police Athletics for Community Engagement (PACE) league. Kubiak said he felt devastated after the break, but then the Covid-19 pandemic happened not too long after that. Kubiak said he likes to say that it was a blessing in disguise because he was able to let his leg heal without missing any games or practices due to the global pandemic cancelling everything.

When in season, being a student athlete can get stressful, especially if you get behind on assignments and your grades start dropping. Kubiak said that his dad is probably his biggest supporter. “Although he is normally taking photos on the sideline, he’s always there for me when the season gets stressful.”

Kubiak’s favorite game from last season is a tie between the State quarterfinal against Creighton Prep and the first time they played Elkorn South away. He said he favored the State game because of the environment the fans created, and he appreciates the fact he could be there as a freshman.

This season Kubiak said he wants to end at the State tournament, even if it means not winning it all. “I think with such a young team, most people don’t expect us to make it that far, and I think it just fuels the team,” Kubiak added.

Assistant coach Gadiel Salinas joined the coaching staff last season, helping them to end with a record of nine-nine.

“My favorite part of being part of the soccer teams is working with our student athletes. Without them, there is no purpose in doing what we do as coaches. The students are the most important,” Salinas said.

The girls’ soccer team ended its journey last season with a loss to Lincoln Southeast with a final score of one-two. Salinas said that the toughest team they faced last season was the Gretna High Dragons which at the time were undefeated and were trying to win a third straight State title that season which they ultimately did. This game helped the team reflect on specific areas where they needed to grow to be equally competitive.

Salinas said he is preparing for this season by acknowledging that he wants to get better and better in his daily work as a coach and hopes he can help his players with new skills and tools he’s learned over the past 10 months or so.

Overall, Salinas said he is excited about the opportunity to work with students who are new to the program and to build off some of the growth they had last year.

Veteran player Kyana Rios expressed excitement for this season because it’s her senior year, and she hopes the team will help her achieve her goals. Rios said the team is important to her especially because she gets to be around people who like the sport as much as she does.

Rios shared that her favorite memory from the previous season was going to get ice cream after a difficult and tiring practice. Something else she said she enjoyed from last season was her statistics improving by a lot compared to her sophomore season.

When asked who she’s most excited about sharing the field with this season, Rios said it will be Eve Hodoly, “just because of the way she is, and she’s just a fun person to be around in the locker room and at practice.” Rios also said she would like to see Hodoly succeed coming out of the soccer program since she’s such a hard worker.

Returning starter Eve Hodoly said she enjoys being part of the soccer team because she gets to be close to girls who love the sport as much as she does. Hodoly said she hopes she can build chemistry and a bond with the incoming freshman who join the varsity squad because she knows how it feels to be a freshman on varsity. Hodoly also added that the highlight of her career has been being a varsity starter as a freshman last year.

“My biggest supporters are definitely my parents and grandparents; one of them will always be in the crowd. I’m very thankful for them,” she said.

Last season was Hodoly’s first time on the soccer team.  Her favorite game was the district semi-final game against Lincoln Southeast because although the final score was one-two, and even though the team lost, it was a fun game.

Although Hodoly said she has experienced multiple setback injuries such as concussions and sprained ankles, she said she is trying to keep a positive mindset and just take care of her body so she can be back on the field sooner than later.

Overall Hodoly said she is trying to make history at Omaha South with the team by making it to the State tournament for the first time in program history.

 

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