Photo Gallery | PHS girls soccer tryouts at Kirvin Park
PITTSFIELD — The first day of practice is always a little bit different than the first day of school.
"I was up so early, ready to go," said Cassidy Moon, one of the captains of the Pittsfield girls soccer team. "I couldn't even sleep. I was so ready."
Head coach Andy Waluszko had his players out at Kirvin Park at 9 a.m. Thursday morning, in what was one of the earliest starts on the first day of fall practice for high school sports teams.
Football teams started earlier, but for soccer, golf, volleyball and cross-country athletes, Thursday was the first time the players officially met with their coaches and teammates on fields or in gymnasiums.
"I look forward to" the start of practice said the PHS coach, who has spent a quarter century on the sidelines at St. Joseph and at Pittsfield. "It's my favorite time of year, the end of August and the beginning of the season.
"It's a new season, it's fresh and I always look forward to it."
For Pittsfield, a three-hour morning session was full of drills and small team workouts. The Generals were due back at Kirvin Park for an evening scrimmage session running the length of the field.
"It's just nice to see everyone who's improved over the summer," captain Ilana Albert said. "It's clear that most people have been working and running on their own.
"It's nice to see that everyone worked their butts off."
Lauren Daury another of Pittsfield's four captains, said that like her teammates, she was excited about being back on the pitch at Kirvin. Unlike some of them, she did not spend hours staring at the ceiling trying to get some rest.
"That's early for the summer," said Daury, discussing her 10 p.m. bedtime Wednesday night. "I was supposed to be up at 7:30, but I ended up waking up at 7 on my own because I was so excited."
Pittsfield was 12-7 last year, and lost in the first round of the Western Massachusetts Division I girls soccer tournament, dropping a 2-1 decision to Holyoke. The loss came as a shock to Waluszko and his players. After all, Pittsfield lost in the quarterfinals in 2014, and dropped a pair of games in the finals in 2012 and 2013.
"When we lost to Holyoke last year, I was already thinking about 2016," the PHS coach said during a break in Thursday morning's practice. "When we lost last year, we were preparing right after that loss."
Preparing might just have been a bit of an understatement.
"He texted us the day after, no, the day of the banquet," said captain Hannah Dargie. "Ever since then I've been thinking about it ever since."
Among the 40 players are a group of freshmen that Dargie said adds to the early practices.
"It's good to see," she said. "It feels like I was a freshman a day ago. I like to talk with them and see what's up."
Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.