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JV boys’ soccer team go undefeated in PVL

During the last game of the season, the undefeated Junior Varsity Boys Soccer Team had the opportunity to play on the Varsity Team, pictured here. Photo by Zach Fink.

The JV boys’ soccer team went undefeated in the Pioneer Valley League (PVL) this past season, an accomplishment that has never been done before in the history of Bear River soccer.

Sophomore Cade Torgerson, who played center midfielder on the JV boys’ soccer team, talked about the team dynamic and how it helped them to win.

Everyone helped encourage others by talking and helping each other throughout the games,” Torgerson explained. “Working together was [our] biggest strength.”

He continued by stating what his biggest motivation was to try his best out on the field.

“To not be a normal Bear River soccer team and get blown out every game,” Torgerson said.

Freshman Ryan Cleere added on his own opinion on how well the team worked together.

This year we had really good team chemistry, everyone worked together really well, and everyone knew where everyone else was on the field,” Cleere explained. “Every time someone messed up, we would encourage them and help them to fix what they did wrong instead of just yelling at them and blaming them [for the outcome].”

He continued on to say what the most satisfying moment of the season was for him.

“The most satisfying moment of the season was probably when we beat Center, because they were supposed to be the best team in the league other than us, and we beat them by three goals, which we scored really quickly off the bat,” said Cleere.

He finished with a message to his old teammates.

“Good job and thank you,” concluded Cleere.

Midfielder Morgan Neeb, a freshman on the team, explained the origins of his nickname on the field, “Big Morg.”

“I ran over a lot of people, and it just kind of caught on,” Neeb explained.

Neeb continued by expressing what he believed was their biggest strength during games.

“Through balls, which is where they pass the ball through the middle of the field and the striker runs for it and kicks it into the goal,” Neeb said.

Fellow freshman and midfielder, Jake Van Bourgondien, explained the level of support between the teammates.

“When Morgan Neeb, for example, made his first goal in soccer, everyone cheered and it was a really cool moment,” Van Bourgondien said. “There were a lot of those this season.”

He finished with sharing what his favorite part of being on the team was.

“I’d say going to team dinners after we’d won a game,” said Van Bourgondien. “It was fun just talking to everyone and being relaxed.”

Sophomore Grant Murchison, who upheld the position of striker, gave his option on the team’s dynamic.

“The team seemed to play with a sort of chemistry that I didn’t think was possible,” Murchison said. “Everyone on the team worked their hardest, not only to encourage themselves to play better, but also the others.”

He continued with explaining his feelings towards being undefeated in the PVL.

“I feel really honored to be part of the first Bear River soccer team to go undefeated,” said Murchison. “It was a blast playing with all my friends and dominating our league. I was honored to be a part of such a successful team, and I look forward to the future teams as we go through high school.”

He finished up by adding on a message to his teammates.

“My message to the other players on the team would be to keep up the hard work, and that I am proud of how our team played as a whole this year,” Murchison concluded.

The JV boys’ soccer coach, Timothy Highsmith, shared his view of the season.

“This season was a lot of fun,” Coach Highsmith said. “We had players from all levels of soccer.  Players who had played competitive soccer most their lives, to players who had never played organized soccer.  All the boys blended together well and were quick to help each other. With such a large range of talent, there is a natural tendency to group up and not include everyone. This was not the case. The more advanced players helped to mold the younger inexperienced players, while the newer players were eager to ask questions and learn.”

He continued on to share how they worked together as a team and overcame disadvantages.

“Early on, we knew we had a small roster and everyone would need to step up and perform when they were asked to,” explained Coach Highsmith. “Then, we lost our only goalkeeper after the first game of the season. Our backup keeper, who had very little soccer experience, stepped in and was a key part of our team throughout the remainder of the season; he made many saves, which kept us in games. The team’s willingness to trust a key player, like a goalkeeper, was crucial to our success.” 

He concluded by adding on a message to the team, as well as how it felt to win over the PVL.

“First off, thank you to the entire JV boys soccer team and their families!” said Coach Highsmith. “They stuck it out through bad weather and uncertain circumstances. They battled every single game and never gave up… I made some tactical changes throughout the various games. Some players looked at me like I was out of my mind. But they never questioned why and played to the best of their abilities. They trusted me as their coach, and we ended up undefeated in the PVL. It is exciting to be a part of school history, and this team is definitely worthy of the accomplishment. Their willingness to listen and focus on the task at hand was remarkable.”

The full roster of the JV boys soccer team are the sophomores Tobin Ham, Cade Torgerson, Nathan Wilson, Jared Williams, Weston Prosser, Grant Murchison, and Kekoa Reed, and the freshmen Jacob Highsmith, Alex Madrid, Morgan Neeb, Austin Jackson, Ryan Cleere, Jake Van Bourgondien, and Brydon Hopkins.

This groundbreaking team will be remembered by Bruins as the first Bear River soccer team to be undefeated in the PVL.

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JV boys’ soccer team go undefeated in PVL