GOUVERNEUR — A COVID-19 positive test at Gouverneur’s middle school has caused the remainder of fall sports to be canceled at the school and left the girls soccer team with a lot of questions.
Gouverneur went to remote learning until Nov. 30. The high school soccer seasons are scheduled to end on Nov. 12 and cross country was scheduled to end on Nov. 14.
“Just disbelief,” Gouverneur girls soccer coach Mark Martin said when he heard the news. “I’m still trying to figure out what’s happening. I don’t get it.”
The boys soccer team, as well as both cross country teams, also saw their seasons end early. The girls soccer team was leading the Northern Athletic Conference Central Division with a 5-0 record and now has no idea if they have a chance to be considered the division champions, without finishing out the schedule.
“It does make it a little harder that we are undefeated,” said senior midfielder Laney Smith. “I’m not really all that sure how (a championship) will work out. We have a lot of other schools around us that have started to go online, too. I think it will depend on how other schools (finish).”
Section 10 athletic coordinator Carl Normandin said that how to decide a champion has not been determined. A winning soccer team gets two points in the standings and a tie counts for one point. In a typical season, where a team played one or two fewer games than other teams, the formula is to take the total points and divide by games played to get an index for each team. Gouverneur would have a perfect score of 2.0 in that scenario.
“We may need to revisit (that situation), given that fact several programs may not complete their seasons,” Normandin said in an email. “Things are fluid and we have not made a decision either way. We still have two weeks left in the season at this point with various scenarios probably playing out.”
Gouverneur’s girls soccer team played about 30 games over the summer as part of a Gouverneur soccer club. The team not only included the full varsity squad but also a few players from other local high school teams.
After doing that, with no incidents, the varsity team had trouble getting in just five games. Twice, games with Salmon River were postponed even before the official cancellation of the season.
“There are so many people involved in (school sports),” Martin said. “You have no way to battle (decisions) back. What they say is what you are going to do. It’s a matter of time, you would think, with the other schools (having to stop, too).”
The season ending early is tough on the seniors, like Smith.
“I was really upset, thinking I’ll never play soccer again for Gouverneur,” Smith said. “This is my last high school season. It just upset me a lot. I was happy that we at least got to have our senior night and play a lot of the teams we are competitive with and win those. It’s pretty cool (winning), seeing how Canton and Potsdam were our biggest rivals. I didn’t expect, this year, to beat either one of those teams.”
Gouverneur beat Potsdam 1-0 in overtime and defeated Canton 2-1. The Wildcats only gave up two goals in their five games and also beat Ogdensburg Free Academy 1-0, Malone 2-1 and Salmon River 4-0.
Not only are the seniors done, Martin, a Canton native, is also done as the Wildcats coach. He is moving to the Syracuse area in mid-November after six years as the girls varsity coach.
“I think that’s what hit me last night, I can’t really say goodbye to (the team),” Martin said. “That feeling of knowing it’s my last game, that’s not happening, it’s already happened and I didn’t know it was going to happen then. But a lot of good things happened this year for us.”