Team togetherness and camaraderie has been a staple of the Mercer Island FC Maroon girls soccer team for the past seven years.
The Maroon GU18/19 soccer squad completed its final season of soccer together with a 2-1 victory against the PacNW Blue in the President’s Cup D2 championship contest May 12. It was the third time out of the past five seasons the Maroon won a state title in its division.
Maroon head coach Tom Hill said the majority of the players on his team’s roster have played together since the 2012 season. The final game the Maroon ever played was a testament to their trust in each other. The title game against PacNW Blue was tied 0-0 at halftime.
Hill wasn’t worried.
Instead of giving a halftime pep talk, the mild-mannered Hill quietly picked up water bottles while his team gathered for a players-only huddle.
“They circled up and I could tell they were in their own zone. They didn’t need me,” Hill said. “When they came out for the second half, they were just bouncing around and were ready to go. The other team was just walking onto the field. You could see the difference.”
The Maroon scored two goals in the first 20 minutes of the second half of play. Hill wasn’t surprised to see his squad respond in its final game together.
“It was really emotional for the girls as it was for me. When the final whistle was blown, our center defender Ella Hensey who really held down the fort all year because of her speed, she just went to tears, which was really cool to see. You could tell how much this team cared about each other,” Hill explained. “They are great kids and they are great athletes who really bonded together and learned how to win.”
The Maroon compiled more than 108 victories and won six summer tournaments since the team was formed seven seasons ago. Hill, his players and the parents of the players were in reflection mode at their final team party on the evening of May 30.
“It’s not just the girls on the team that have bonded but it’s the parents, too, and the coaches. We all have made a lot of good friends over the years amongst everyone,” Hill said.
The Maroon team roster during the 2019 season consisted of Abby Berman, Annelise Rorem, Catherine Yoshida, Claire Molina, Ella Hensey, Ella Veljovich, Ellie Sulla, Hannah Derakshani, Hannah Wainwright, Katelyn Orndorff, Keathley Pinney-Brown, Elaina Martin, Lexi Shurygailo, Mari Hanan, Naomi Lewis, Robin Henry, Sarah Gest and Stella Goffman. Jackie Brown was the team manager and the Maroon were coached by Steve Gest and Hill.