As a sophomore last season, Peninsula High midfielder Mason Haubrich was already pretty good.
Actually, if the voting was any indication, he was really good. Haubrich was voted to the all-SPSL 3A first team a season ago due to his creativity in the attack and his presence all over the field.
“He’s our playmaker,” said second-year head coach Brad Scandrett. “He’s an everywhere player. He can do anything; he makes stuff happen. He’s fun to watch. He’s creative. He’s gotten stronger this year. He’s just a great player. I could talk a lot about him.”
Haubrich, who takes AP classes at Peninsula and has the soccer IQ to match, was a key part of Peninsula getting off to a scorching 10-0 start a season ago. But then he got hurt, and the Seahawks felt the effects of losing their key playmaker.
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Peninsula finished the season 11-6, losing six out of its last seven games.
“I think what we can learn is we can’t let the expectations get to us,” Haubrich said. “I think that’s what happened to us. In the first half of the season, we really had no expectations since we didn’t do too well the season before. But since we did so well in the first half of the season, the expectations got to us and we kind of crumbled.”
It all comes down to mental toughness, according to Scandrett. The second-year head coach has made mental fortitude a teaching point early in his second season.
“(We can learn) how to be mentally tougher,” Scandrett said. “I thought about that a lot last year. Staying mentally tough and knowing who you are and what you’re capable of, and not wavering from that. We lost confidence and we paid for it.
Haubrich getting hurt and missing five games didn’t help either.
“That made a difference,” Scandrett said. “Ultimately, we were young. Some of that mental toughness, we needed to learn. And we have. So I think we come back stronger mentally, stronger physically and faster.”
Peninsula lost one of its best goal scorers in Christian Lewis to graduation, but returns almost everyone else. First team all-league senior center back Brad Keller will command the back line, while senior Ethan Martin returns in goal. Speedy junior Mynor Martinez, who played on defense last season, may be a candidate primed to take over Lewis’ goal-scoring duties.
“My expectations are that we’ll go farther than we did last year,” Scandrett said. “Making state would be great. That’s always the goal. We have to play our game, give the extra. Our theme this year is ‘Extra.’ Extra touches, extra effort. Extra everything. That’s what’s going to take us from ordinary to extraordinary.”
Haubrich fully expects the team to improve on last year’s up-and-down campaign.
“(We should make) a run at state,” he said. “I’m fully confident. We only lost four players last year. A lot of these kids played club together, so we have really good team chemistry.”