Soccer team focuses on team game to continue streak of dominance
Cody Allgor | Staff Writer
The Comets are still doing damage without Damge.
After two straight GMC championship seasons, the Mason boys soccer team lost a historic class of seniors, including current University of Kentucky player Ben Damge. Damge was a key piece to Mason’s recent success and won back to back Conference Player of the Year awards.
The loss of Damge and a big senior class provoked a change in play for the Comets, with many different names stepping up for big nights when it counts. Third year Mason head coach Mike Combs said the diversity of play has made it difficult for opposing teams to match up against the Comets.
“Last year, we had everyone in our league focusing on Ben Damge,” Combs said. “This year, we started out the season consistent with productivity coming from a lot of players. Our offensive play has certainly been widespread, which makes it difficult for opponents to come in and worry about any particular player when we’ve been able to get a lot of productivity from a lot of different players.”
The Comets lost a senior class of over ten players last year, opening a huge hole on the roster. senior defenseman Gabe Marlow said that inexperienced teammates were ready to step in and fill those roles.
“We lost about 15 seniors last year,” Marlow said. “We took a hit last year, but we knew that there were many guys that were ready to come up and play for us. We also knew that teams around the city were losing a lot of key players too. We knew we had the capability of stepping up and being better than all those teams with this senior class.”
Although many of the seniors haven’t had much varsity playing time, the Comets junior varsity went undefeated in 2018, a team that was full of many players who are now seniors. Marlow said that all of his teammates throughout highschool have built chemistry and trust.
“A lot of the guys on the team have been friends with each other for a while and we just became closer ever since freshman year,” Marlow said. “The team chemistry that we’ve been building since freshman year has helped us get an edge against most of the teams because we know how to react and how to face adversity in games because we trust one another and we work for one another.”
With a win over Colerain on October 8th, the Comets clinched their third consecutive GMC title.
Mason’s success has earned recognition, as the team is currently ranked seventh in the state of Ohio. The Comets feel they finally are getting the respect they deserve, but senior forward Max Brogan said that the Comets have felt like underdogs from the beginning of the season and have something to prove.
“We constantly look at [the rankings],” Brogan said. “We felt like we were being slept on, we felt as the underdogs that we were going to prove to everyone that we are the best team in the state and we want to be the top team.”
The Comets defense has produced five shutouts this season, helping propel the Comets to a hot start that continued right into another GMC title. Combs said that the backline is a key factor in winning games.
“[Our defense] has been the backbone of our team,” Combs said. “They’re the ones that create that wall back there, that gives our offensive players the confidence that they can go and be aggressive and be creative and feel confident they’re going to get their opportunities, because our backline is going to hold firm and win balls. Our confidence starts with our backline.”
The Comets have been lights out all year, and the only mark on their perfect season is a tie with Loveland. When a team continues to win as much as this team, it may get difficult to not let up. Combs said that the Comets don’t need any extra motivation to keep on winning.
“In our training sessions and games, we’re always rotating players around so they always want more success and to keep winning the games,” Combs said. “They know they want to finish in a strong way. Some years, the players as a group take the foot off the pedal a little bit, but this group is hungry for it, they want to win, they want to win every ball and they want to win every game.”