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The Piedmont Highlander

The Piedmont Highlander

Lily Caldwell (12) receives flowers for Senior Night
First Game On Witter
February 15, 2024

Soccer Waves Goodbye To Witter

Girls soccer team during tryouts at Laney College

 Soccer cleats squeal against the ball, a player breaks away and shoots. The purple-jerseyed goalie dives and grasps the ball between their gloved fingers. The crowd erupts, chanting “Protect the P!” This year, however, the literal Witter “P” will not be part of the game. 

 Both the girls’ and boys’ soccer teams will transition from playing at Witter to practicing at Laney College in Oakland and hosting games at Wilder Field in Orinda. 

  For most players, this means instead of simply walking down P.E. hill, getting to practice is now a 15-minute four-times-a-week endeavor. 

  To get to practice at Laney on time, soccer player junior Enzo Bernales said he will now have to change his routine by driving to school in the morning. After school, he will take his car to get to practice. 

  “I used to walk home, eat, then go to practice. I don’t think I’ll be able to eat [between school and practice] now,” Bernales said.

  Soccer player junior Nikolas Markopolous said getting to Laney will be difficult for teammates without licenses. 

  “[Witter was so] convenient [because] I could just walk down with my friends,” said soccer player sophomore Miranda Liu. 

  Varsity girl’s team captain, senior Hailey Marshburn said she will miss being in the locker room as a team. 

   “[In the locker room], it’s fun when you’re all there together. [You’ll say] ‘Great job guys’ or ‘Let’s pick it up next time.’ It wraps up the day. Everyone’s taking off their stuff and you’re more as a team,” Marshburn said. 

  Witter has speakers that players could connect to during practice to play music. Marshburn said she was looking forward to making a playlist for the season but realized that may not be possible at Laney.

  There are other traditions that the teams may not be able to continue, for example, Bernales shared that during game days they used to huddle and yell, a routine similar to the Haka. 

  “Our pregame chant is a fun thing, it kind of reverberates through the entirety of the field because [we’d do it] up the stairs, [by] the locker rooms. It’s a Piedmont pride kind of thing,” said soccer player senior Riley Stratman. 

  Despite the inconvenience, there are many aspects of Laney players expressed gratitude for. 

  “Oakland Roots play at Laney sometimes. So [Laney is] a decent field,” Marshburn said.

  While players appreciate Laney as a good turf field, they are also apprehensive of the impacts the added distance will have.

  “No one is going to come to our games,” Bernales said. 

  Marshburn said that even at Witter, turnout for girls’ soccer games is disappointingly low.

  “It’s unfortunate guy’s sports [are] more celebrated and watched than women’s sports. [The boys and girls] both won NCS last year which kind of proves we are on the same level. [Orinda] is a drive and less convenient [than Witter] to go see a game. It will be sad seeing even less people in the stands,” Liu said. 

  Marshburn acknowledged the absence of Witter will affect team dynamics, but as a captain, she will step up to help the team adjust.

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About the Contributors
Anne Reardon, Staff Writer
Anne Reardon (12) is a Staff Writer for TPH. In her free time she enjoys being outdoors and traveling. Anne likes to hang out with friends, go camping, listen to music, play water polo, and swim.
Sophie Hess, Photos Editor
Sophie Hess (11) is the Photographer for TPH. Apart from journalism, she enjoys cooking, gardening, and traveling with her family.
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