And that out-work-the-other-team approach has served Sorg and his newly resurgent Torreys well since he took over the program in Fall 2015.
“(My dad) was the hardest working man I have ever known,” says Sorg, a long-time coach now coaching for Albion, as well, after relocating his family to San Diego from Cupertino in a life- and career-change move when the family business was sold and the tool-and-die work sent overseas.
“When he was working in the silver mines in Canada and met my mother Irene, a Czechoslovakian, there,” continues Sorg--who takes a much different approach than his father in personal relations--“he dictated (literally) to her, ‘We’re going to get married and we’re going to go to California.’”
Senior captains Alexis Desany and Kendall Platt the Torreys don’t call them captains, they use the term “leaders” have seen the night-and-day difference between the time before and after Sorg’s arrival and overhaul of the moribund program, which had enjoyed glory days under Noah Gins in 2005 but which had fallen to seasons in which Country Day went 0-11.
“We have great chemistry on the team. We really love each other,” says Desany, 17, who focuses on biology and chemistry in her studies. After both future captains played for two years on the varsity, Sorg arrived, presented his plan and expectations for the program, and the Torreys reached the CIF Division 3 semifinals last spring. This year has been more of the same.
Eyeing this year’s team banner displayed on the fence behind one goal reading “T-I-M-E – Teamwork, Integrity, Mentality, and Energy,” Desany identifies the “mentality” element: “It’s really important that we keep focused and have a clear goal in mind. We’re all in the same mindset. I feel like every time we start a half, we have a focus. We’re a second-half team because by then everyone has settled down and we’re really able to work together.”
Platt, 18, an outside midfielder, uses the “C” word, like her fellow captain: “Our chemistry is amazing. It allows us to flow in practice. We talk about what we’re going to do, where we’re going to move the ball, and other things.”
Sorg, though a highly skilled technical coach in the Albion developmental program, says he tries to bring a humanity to his task of leading Desany, Platt, and their 15 teammates. The girls are not automatons, they’re living, breathing teenagers, and though they yearn to excel and are enjoying the team’s considerable success, the coach is intentional in his human approach and interaction with his players.
“I ask them how they’re doing, what’s going on in their families in a way that shows interest and concern,” says the highly-organized Bay Area transplant, who keeps busy with full days of coaching in his various roles. “I don’t bring the same approach to my younger players as opposed to my 18-year-olds. That wouldn’t work.” They’re at different points of personal development.
It seems Sorg has learned the lessons well from working under his hard-nosed, “Old World” father, then continuing the family business until two years ago, while incorporating maybe a kinder, gentler approach in guiding teams in private school (Bellarmine Academy in San Jose, where he starred at San Jose State, then began his coaching there), public school (also in the Bay Area), of boys and girls “from rec league to 18 years old”.
Katie Mills, another articulate member of the Torreys, plays at outside and center midfield. The sophomore saw the team really start to come together in the final game of the San Diego Holiday Jubilee, which they won, in December: “We were tied (with Ramona) and it was a really close game,” Mills, 16, recounts. “Both teams were playing extremely well. As a team, we were communicating well with one another. It was a really exciting game because we hadn’t had a close game before that.”
The sophomore offensive/defensive contributor holds a lot of pride in the fact she’s the third generation of her family, going back to its heritage in Manchester, England, to play the sport. “My granddad played for Manchester City,” she shares. “He wasn’t on the main team, but he played for the youth team. The whole family is for Manchester United now (the reason for the switch in loyalty is “Granddad’s dad didn’t come to any of his games”). We watch all the games on TV.” It must be quite an occasion each week.
On a strength, she sees in her game and her role on the Torreys as a midfielder, Mills, the only darker redhead in the family, says, “Through balls. Playing the ball up to the forwards, and switching it to the other side of the field.”
“I try to communicate with my teammates over where to move the ball.” Her family is parents Linda and Roger, and older brothers Mick, 28, and Alex, 25.