HONEOYE FALLS, N.Y. (WROC) — In a picture-perfect year for HF-L soccer, the biggest competition for the boys and girls soccer teams have been each other.
“Whoever loses first, the team that hasn’t lost yet will definitely get the bragging rights,” says senior striker Gunnar Wetzel.”
Each team has entered the playoffs with 10-0 records. They’ve both only given up 3 goals on the entire season and have combined to score 68.
“Once we got our first three games, we were like wow, we could really have an exceptional year,” says senior goalkeeper Mari Spitz. “Especially with the boys doing what they were doing, it was really just adding on to each other.”
“We’re always talking to each other and hyping each other up in school making sure we’re going to get the job done,” says Wetzel.
Not only are both teams leading the way in Class A, but they’re also both being led from the same household. Chrissy Merrill coaches the girls, Mike Merrill coaches the boys, each for the past 15 years.
“This is the first year we’ve both had so much success,” says Chrissy Merrill. “Typically it’s one of us winning sectional titles while the other is bringing the kids along to watch.”
“We definitely share some ideas. I’ll be at home, she’s watching the video I kind of look over her shoulder and vice versa,” says Mike Merrill. “We might point something out but nothing too intrusive.”
With two teams to coach, three teams to take care of, both Merrills described their hectic fall schedules as a juggling act. But nothing can compare to the 2013 season. That year, Chrissy coached while pregnant, gave birth to their son Jack on the final day of the regular season, then returned a few weeks later as the Cougars made it to the state championship game.
“She gave Jack a bottle and handed him off to me right there at Cortland, I took Jack and she went out to coach three weeks after he was born,” says Mike Merrill. “It’s just what we do.”
What they won’t do is take their upcoming playoff runs for granted. As Chrissy puts it, due to COVID, any day they could say that we’re done.