The Berean Christian School’s girls varsity soccer team had a historic season this year. For head coach Jon Iverson, this year’s successful campaign was the result of patience, perseverance and perspiration.
For the first time in school history, Berean’s varsity girls soccer team won a district title when the Bulldogs defeated rival Lake Worth Christian 3-1 on Tuesday, Feb. 9 in the Class 2A district final.
“In recent years, we’ve been a district tournament runner-up three times,” Iverson said. “It was great to finally be a district champ.”
In their next game on Tuesday, Feb. 16, a regional quarterfinal clash against the South Florida Heat, Berean prevailed 2-1. Berean then advanced to the regional semi-finals, where the team traveled to Fort Lauderdale to play highly touted Westminster Academy on Friday, Feb. 19. On paper, Westminster was the overwhelming favorite, but soccer games are not played on paper.
For the majority of the first half, Berean’s strong defense kept Westminster at bay, but in the final 90 seconds of the first half, Westminster scored a goal to take a 1-0 lead into halftime. Early in the second half, Westminster notched another goal to take a 2-0 lead. Despite a few chances to score goals, the Bulldogs were unsuccessful in their efforts to get on the scoreboard. Westminster eventually held on to win the match 2-0.
Iverson was extremely proud of the effort by his team in that Sweet 16 match on the road.
“We played hard, and they played hard,” Iverson recalled. “My team didn’t quit. They never quit, but Westminster was the better team on the day.”
Iverson’s squad finished the season with a 10-3 record.
This was Berean’s second straight appearance in a regional semifinal. Last year’s team also advanced that far, but they got there as district runner-up.
In retrospect, the girls varsity soccer program at Berean has come a long way since Iverson became the head coach 10 years ago.
In his first year, Iverson remembers having difficulty getting enough players to form a team. Now, things are different and better as Iverson coaches a team that has more than 20 players on the roster, his squad has a winning record each season and the Bulldogs are an annual force to be reckoned with in the post season.
One of the keys to the success of Berean’s varsity girls soccer program is the fact that many of Iverson’s players do not focus just on soccer throughout the year.
“Many of my players play other sports, which keeps them mentally and physically fresh,” Iverson said. “So, when it’s soccer season, they are healthy and eager to play and compete. Our results speak for themselves.”
Four of the big reasons for Berean’s success this year were seniors Macy Bergsman, Tyneisha Herring, Hailey Lewis and Rachel Wells.
Bergsman consistently made life difficult for Berean’s opponents.
“Macy is an unbelievable defender,” Iverson said. “She is 100 percent committed to stopping the opposition. She also brings a sense of calm to our team defense.”
Herring, a midfielder, is clever and quick.
“Tyneisha is very smart, very fast and very good,” Iverson said. “She knows how to score, as she had 16 goals and 15 assists this year.”
This year was Lewis’ first on the varsity soccer team, and she made a huge contribution to this year’s team.
“Hailey was our goalkeeper,” Iverson said. “This was her first year playing soccer for us. My assistant coach Juliette Waller did a great job teaching Hailey how to play the position. Haley took it from there.”
Her ability to quickly and efficiently adapt to the demands of being a goalkeeper was reflected in the fact that seven of Berean’s 10 wins were shutouts.
Wells, a forward, was the team’s biggest motivator.
“Rachel provided great encouragement to her teammates,” Iverson said. “On the field, she was determined to make things happen. And she did.”
As for Berean’s immediate future in girls soccer, Iverson is confident that next year’s team will be as good as this year’s team, if not better.
“Even though we lose 10 seniors this year, I have 10 players returning,” Iverson said. “The future looks good.”
With patience, perseverance and perspiration, the squad should do well next year.
Will next year’s squad be good enough to reach the Class 2A state championships? Only time will tell, but don’t be surprised if Berean Christian School’s varsity girls soccer team has another historic campaign in 2022.