When a soccer team goes 7-0-1 in a season, capturing a championship in the process, what’s left to accomplish the following year?
For Weightman Middle School in Wesley Chapel, that question was answered: A perfect 8-0 season for their girls soccer team and another sectional title.
“The girls are outstanding kids and outstanding soccer players. It was the most talented group that I’ve ever coached,” said coach Brian Dorkowski.
While he wasn’t the coach for last year’s title, Dorkowski isn’t a complete newcomer to Weightman, either. He coached both boys and girls soccer at the school before leaving to coach Wesley Chapel High School boys soccer for 11 years. Upon his return, Weightman not only logged their second consecutive title, but the first perfect season for girls soccer in school history.
The Wildcats didn’t just win all of their games. They dominated most of them, scoring at least five goals in five of their eight matches. In fact, two of them ended 8-0 due to the school system’s mercy rule.
And while they were offensively dominant, their defense was just as good, recording five shutouts as well.
In fact, their starting goalkeeper, Logan Coward, only allowed one goal the entire season. The other goals allowed came when they substituted backups to finish the games, but they only gave up four more in those circumstances for a total of five goals against for the entire season.
Since there are no playoffs at the middle school level, their record earned them the title for their section of Pasco County.
While the numbers suggest that the Wildcats overpowered their opponents, Dorkowski said he was impressed with the level of overall play he found upon returning to middle school soccer.
“It’s been a while since I coached middle school and coached girls, but I was very pleasantly surprised by the talent at the other schools,” he said. “We won by wide margins, but most of our games were against talented teams. The other teams had very talented players as well. These were good teams that we were beating.”
Dorkowski implemented a few strategies to keep his team sharp during the year. When the matches were already in hand, Dorkowski would give the girls in-game challenges to keep up their interest and focus, such as only allowing each girl to score one goal, which forced them to pass more and help their teammates score.
He also would instruct them to only touch the ball three times before passing or shooting, requiring them to make quick decisions on their possessions.
According to forward Tori Mitchell, who was on last year’s championship team and plays club soccer with the Wesley Chapel Flames, Dorkowski also brought a few new strategies to the table.
“He has a lot of background knowledge in coaching. He taught us some new set plays,” Mitchell said, referring to methods for free kicks and corner kicks that led to additional success.
“He definitely knows what he’s doing and helped some newer players who weren’t so familiar with the game.”
Mitchell also said that last year’s season began with a tie, so they knew a perfect season wasn’t possible. This year perfection was definitely a goal for the team, and even though they had the title wrapped up heading into the final game, they wanted to finish 8-0. Once they did, it was time to celebrate with post-game parties and an announcement at school the next day.
Next year will bring new challenges, as some students will graduate to high school, while others might attend different middle schools. But Dorkowski said that, as the school’s physical education coach, he sees plenty of sixth-graders with talent to share with the team next year.
He feels good about their potential next season and he’s proud of what the Wildcats accomplished this season.
“It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had as a coach,” he said. “I told the girls at the end of the year that if we hadn’t won any games I would have felt the same way because they were just so pleasant to coach, just the way you’d want them to be.”
Published Masrch 12, 201
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