Wildcats soccer team braces for 7-game road trip
Team encouraged by 3-0 start, home Classic championship
A season ago, the Cassville soccer team won three times in 23 games.
Beat down, worn out and left for dead by some, the Wildcats brought in Jake Forste to resurrect a proud program.
"From day one, I told the players that I believed in them," Forste said. "I told them that they have the talent to win a lot of games, and that they needed to believe in themselves."
Forste said to change the culture at Cassville, he first had to change the attitude of the players.
"Last year, they fell into some bad habits," Forste said. "They lacked the discipline needed to be a winning team. The poor habits were reflected in their conditioning, strength and effort in games. If you don't believe you can win, you won't."
On Saturday, Forste's Wildcats matched their win total from all of last season with their third consecutive victory to claim their first-ever Cassville Classic crown.
"The guys did a good job of playing to our strengths," Forste said. "We opened against New Covenant and allowed them to take a 1-0 lead on us 15 minutes into the game. We tied the score right before halftime."
The Cassville coach said he told the players they had a choice at intermission.
"I told the team that last year they played a lot of games and were tied or trailing by one at half," Forste said. "I told them the choice was theirs-- we could either fall back into old habits or fight till the end."
With Noah Parson knotting the score right before halftime, the Wildcats would net two more, one each by Austin Sneed and Aaron Camarillo to earn the 3-1 victory.
On Saturday, an 8-0 victory over Thomas Jefferson set the tone for the Wildcats.
Camarillo recorded a hat trick, with Alex Walling knocking in two more. Sneed, Hunter Dover and Mason Arndt also recorded goals.
The win sent the Black and Gold into a winner-take-all championship match with McDonald County.
Cassville used a pair of Camarillo goals, along with a David Whittemire goal, to earn a 3-0 decision.
"Our play on Saturday was much improved over the Thursday contest," Forste said. "The strength of our team is our defense, but we have a middle that can get the ball forward where we are capable of scoring on any team we play."
Forste said the biggest obstacle the Wildcats have to overcome is learning how to win and finish games.
"We are still focusing on how to win games and staying aggressive," Forste said. "We play four games in the next five days, and we need to make sure we are in shape."
Cassville opens play in the New Covenant Tournament on Thursday. Their opponent had yet to be determined as of press time.