St. Paul's soccer player Iliyas Mirza on Sunday's MIAA A Conference title game

During the school year, Varsity Letters will periodically ask student-athletes from various sports to step in as guest bloggers. They will share their personal thoughts during pivotal stretches of a given season.

This week's guest is Iliyas Mirza, a senior forward on the St. Paul's boys soccer team. The No. 2 Crusaders moved up to the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference after competing in the B Conference and have showed they belong with a 14-3-1 record this season.

Following a 3-0 win over Archbishop Curley in the league semifinals, St. Paul's takes on No. 1 McDonogh (20-0-1) in the title game set for 5:30 p.m. Sunday at Archbishop Spalding. Mirza has played a big role in the team's success, with 10 goals and 14 assists this season.

Below, read what Mirza wrote on Thursday.

-- Glenn Graham

After Curley beat us at their place to send us to a 1-2 record, our team was very frustrated. But we all knew what we were capable of, and we bounced back and won a tough game against a strong Loyola side, 2-1, followed by a string of another eleven consecutive victories.

It was nice to be in second place and clinch a semifinal spot, but we were not only playing well, we were having fun. I will never forget our joking around during practice, but we also knew when to keep it serious and pay attention to Coach [Majid] Mirza (my Dad) and Coach [Cameron] Baird.

The most memorable moment of the season so far is when Juwan [Kearson] faked an injury and told the coaches that he would not be able to play against McDonogh. My Dad’s reaction was priceless. He looked like he was going to be sick, but in the end it was all a big laugh.

Tying McDonogh 3-3 after they had crushed us earlier was an accomplishment for our team, but we knew that we had to be focused on the playoffs and not rest on our laurels.

Going into the semifinal game, we just had this collective feeling that this would not be our final game together. And it showed as we excelled and showed improvement in every spot of the field, leading to a dominating 3-0 victory.

It has been an unforgettable season, as we started off as the underdogs from the B Conference who were not even supposed to have much of an impact on the traditional powers -- according to the so-called “experts.”

One more mountain to climb.

-- Iliyas Mirza

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