Red Hot Flames Locked In After Humbling Start

  • 10/9/2017 10:49:46 PM
  • Brian Skowronski
  • Local Sports

MANSFIELD, OH- "Losing" is not a term used very often when it comes to the Mansfield Christian boy's soccer team. The Flames have proven to be the most consistent program in North Central Ohio over the past two decades, becoming state title contenders in Division III seemingly every season.

The current senior class certainly has not tasted defeat very often, entering the 2017 campaign with a ridiculous 53-6-6 overall varsity record since they entered high school including a state title in 2014 and Final Four appearance just last fall. But despite the pedigree, this years season would begin with some growing pains, unlike anything the players had experienced in their careers. 

Mansfield Christian would start their campaign with an unprecedented 2-4 record that would serve as a humbling experience for veteran members of the club.

"It was a rough beginning of the season," senior captain Jared McPeek says. "Those games did help us because we know how it is to lose instead of going into tournament expecting to win."

"I think definitely when we lost the Madison game and the Lexington game we were like, "wow", we just lost four big games that we should've won a couple out of," says junior forward Jared Mount. "After those games, it was kind of like a wake-up call for us. We know we're not the team's we've had in the past. We're not guaranteed wins. We have to come out every day and perform to the best of our ability and that's what we started doing after that game."

The Flames have done just that since their last minute 3-4 loss at Lexington on September 7, going undefeated on the pitch in their last eight matches with a 7-0-1 record. Mansfield Christian head coach Jesse Rider says he's seen his team develop both on and off the field since struggling through their first six matches of the season.

"I appreciate the growth we've seen," says Rider. "This team has really shown tremendous growth throughout the season in a lot of different ways, certainly on the soccer field, but I think maturity-wise and leadership-wise they've continued to grow and never became complacent or just kind of settle in for, 'this is how it's gonna be', and so they have the attitude, 'we want to be better', and we're gonna work harder to be better and that's been a great model to follow."

That model includes reflecting on previous seasons and recognizing what made the team successful.

"Tournament time's coming up and stuff and not only that, we just need to focus on just the path we've been taking through the years at Mansfield Christian," senior captain Wyatt Earhart says. "We want to just keep that going so we've been taking it a lot more serious."

"You have your goal and every day you have to stick to it," says senior defender Ethan Maiyer. "You have to do everything right to get where we wanna go."

The Flames wrap-up their regular season this week with a home match against Horizon Science Academy (6-7-1) on Tuesday and travel to Ontario (11-2-2) for their finale on Thursday before kicking off their state tournament at home on Oct 21.  



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