Thanks to a slow start to the season, Will Donahoe never stopped rallying the troops.
Finally, the Sycamore The boys’ soccer team started winning, went undefeated on Interstate 8 in the regular season, and won the Class 2A Sycamore Regional, while Donahoe had 32 goals and nine assists.
“We didn’t let the start of the season against the biggest teams get us down,” Donahoe said. “We kind of grew together and ended up with a winning record after losing the first six games, I think that was it. It’s a good turn of the season. »
Donahoe was named the Daily Chronicle Boys’ Football Player of the Year 2022 after the Spartans, despite starting the year 1-6-1, finished 14-12-1.
“There were a lot of times at practice, before games and at halftime, he would gather the guys up and say, ‘Hey, we’re better than that,'” the Sycamore Boys first-year coach said, Kevin Bickley. “And some of those games were on the road against tough opponents. It would have been easy for some of these young children to give in and it could have gone south. He was one of those who said we could turn things around. »
Given the new coach and many new faces on the roster this year, Donahoe said he’s not sure what to expect for his senior year. But even with a slow start, he said the season has exceeded his expectations.
“I wasn’t really sure how much I was going to score or how it would be with the new team and everything,” Donahoe said. “We ended up playing very well together and I had a lot of opportunities that other players gave me. I surprised myself a bit. It was a good senior year and I’m proud of everything. what I accomplished.
Donahoe said he liked the way his side battled rival Kaneland in all three of their meetings this year. After winning the regular season contest en route to an undefeated regular season in the I8, the Spartans lost at home to the Knights in the conference tournament.
The teams met for a rematch in the regional title match. The Spartans won 3-1.
“It was great to see the team come together, especially with the Kaneland games,” Donahoe said. “We won the regular season and were undefeated in the conference, but then we lost the conference championship. We knew we would have a chance to face them again in the regional game. We were kind of really focused and wanted this win to come back to our home turf. It was great once we came back and won that game.
Donahoe scored in the first two games against the Knights, and Bickley said the score came from unexpected sources in the regional game, with Donahoe kept off the scoreboard.
Bickley said it’s something Donahoe has dealt with all year, dealing with teams focused on his stoppage. And he said the senior striker had done a great job.
“Teams want to defend a kid and that can be tough sometimes,” Bickley said. “He seemed to find a way. In Kaneland’s and DeKalb’s games, he seems to find a way to score goals. You look and he has three guys on him and he goes back with the ball and gets a shot. And you look back and wonder ‘how did this happen?’ ”