Menlo School Athletics
Up until last week, if you had asked Chandler Wickers and the rest of the Menlo Knights girls’ soccer team about their first game against Sacred Heart Prep this year, they’d tell you a tale of dissatisfaction.
Sure, on paper the game went down as a draw — no warm done, right?
Well, not really.
“Coming off of that tie against them the last game, I think we realized we had a such a good chance, especially playing at home the second game,” Wickers said. “And we knew this was the only way we were going to win league — beat Sacred Heart. Knowing that this was our chance — that really energized the team.”
It was an insatiable hunger to build off that positive yet disappointing result that fueled Wickers and the rest of the Knights last week.
“We sat down and were able to put out some good goals,” Wickers said. “We definitely wanted to win a lot of the 50-50 balls. We felt we weren’t really doing well in the middle. I think the second game, we did a better job of winning balls in the middle because that’s where their strength was and we knew we needed to counter that this game.”
The game plan for last week wasn’t just talk for Wickers, who is having a terrific all-around season for the Knights. Surrounded by a group of talented players, Wickers’ week stood out as the most balanced in what was a 3-0 stretch for the Knights. In three matches — the middle being a huge win over SHP — Wickers found the net in every single one of them. She also notched a pair of assists to help keep the Knights atop the West Bay Athletic League standings as the only unbeaten squad.
For her efforts, Wickers is the Daily Journal Athlete of the Week.
“I have been in CCS games that haven’t been as emotional as that,” Wickers said about that SHP win. “It was definitely a crazy game because it was so close and a lot of our games haven’t been close so being in a game that was so incredibly close and were fighting so hard, it was definitely exciting.”
The win was much sweeter considering the hard work that led up to it and the momentum that continued after.
Prior to the mid-week W, Menlo used a 5-0 shelling of The King’s Academy to get the offensive ball rolling. They then carried that into that SHP game and used it again in a 3-0 win against Notre Dame-San Jose.
“We were able to finish and get it done when we had to,” Wicker said. “We had a lot of good momentum coming up to that game against Sacred Heart so that that really put up in a good place before that game. We were able to finish well through that week.
“We decided in the second half that we really needed to start playing on the ground and to each other’s feet,” Wickers said of that TKA win. “The first half was pretty sloppy and we realized that we needed to string passes quickly and effectively to beat their defense because it was pretty good. And I think we really came alive in the second half and that’s why we were able to dominate through.”
Huge also in the SHP win was Wickers’ leadership — something she credits her fellow seniors with having as well.
“I think all four of the seniors are really versatile leaders,” she said. “I think we all bring a lot to the table. Over the years, I’ve definitely felt like I needed to improve a lot and I’ve been surrounded by such incredible players. I think that being able to connect as a foursome and be solid as our foursome, we’re able to lead our team really well.”