The United Christian Academy varsity soccer team honored their coach last week during the school’s fall awards ceremony for his team earning its 1,000th goal under his leadership.
Greg Baroch has coached the Crusaders for 28 years and wasn’t aware of the plans to honor him with a bronze soccer ball. The team earned the milestone in its 1-0 win over Temple on Oct. 3.
“Well, it’s kind of a shock. I didn’t expect it,” Baroch said. “It’s something I’ve been striving for for years. Actually, I told the team as soon as I get my 1,000 goal, I was going to retire.”
Baroch said he’s been saying he was going to retire for 15 years.
“And every year the Lord keeps leading me back,” he said. “We scored that one goal with about 3 minutes to go in the game and won the ballgame. It was quite an accomplishment, but you know I don’t get any credit. I didn’t score any of the goals. It’s been all the kids over the years.”
“He’s been with me a long time and he’s very dedicated to the school and athletic program and we certainly do appreciate it,” said United Christian Academy Athletic Director Ray Powell. “You do a great job with the young men. So thank you.”
Baroch said he was pleased with the season but there are still things to work on.
“We have to find the back of the net. We just had a hard time; we got on a winning streak in the middle of the season, we scored a lot of goals and then they just seem to forget how to score,” Baroch said. “But, I was pleased with the season overall. We’re losing a few ballplayers; we have two graduating and got several moving away. So I’m going to need about a half a dozen more players next year. So, talk to your buddies that are athletic and get them to play out here.”
Three soccer players earned regional accolades. Samuel Lamire was named to the North Region First Team and Garrett Totty and Nate Coleman were named to the North Region Second Team.
Powell, who was head coach of the varsity volleyball team, said the girls did well, but there were struggles they had to overcome.
“If you want me to say great things, I will. This group of ladies here is a perfect example of our everyday lives. We went into the season and we had a lot of talent but we had a lot of injuries. And with all the injuries it was hard to get a consistent team on the court all the time,” Powell said. “But they always came to play; put forth the effort. And even with all our struggles, we still won 12 games. Anytime you win double digit games in a season, it’s pretty good.”
One player is having surgery this month and another hurt her ankle and while she played it wasn’t to her full potential.
“I appreciate the effort that they put forth and that’s what they learned this year: things don’t always go like you plan but you endure and that’s what this group did and I really appreciate it,” Powell said.
Three volleyball players earned North All-District First Team nods: Alden Knight, setter; Hanna Roach, outside hitter; and Ayden Knight, which Powell said “is probably the best blocker in the conference that I saw of all the teams we played.”
Emma Roach, who hurt her ankle, echoed Powell’s sentiments.
“This year was definitely a challenging year for me personally; I’ve never played any sport at UCA without my big sister Deanna,” she said. “But this year was pretty amazing. We had a lot of new people and they really pulled through this year even though they’ve never played volleyball. So I appreciate the effort from everyone. I also want to thank Coach Powell, because in all seriousness, sports here would not be possible if it wasn’t for him so we thank you.”
Powell said his heart is at UCA.
“I love all you kids. I don’t know where it comes from except from up above,” Powell said. “He put it there and I hope He never takes it away.”