Girls’ soccer team advances to championship

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By Alex Gurski, Multimedia Editor

The sound of pump-up music and a special cheer fills the locker room as the Conestoga girls’ soccer team prepares for a game on Teamer Field. The team had one of its best seasons so far this year, including earning national and regional rankings from the USA Today High School Sports page. Despite the unfortunate ending to their season with a loss in the state championship Friday, Nov. 15, the team has become a strong unit, and appreciates their time spent together, bonding and creating memories. 

Much of the squad’s success from this year’s season is attributed to the friendships that they formed with one another. 

“I think the biggest contributor to our success this season has been our friendships off the field. We are all good friends with each other and spend a lot of time together away from soccer,” said senior captain Caitlin Donovan.

Junior Kristi DiRico also values their time spent away from the sport, like getting together over meals.

“We do team dinners and breakfasts a lot, and they’re always really fun because everyone on the team is so fun to hang out with,” DiRico said.

The connectivity off the field brought improvements to the gameplay on the field. McKenzie Coleman, a new student and a first-time member of the team, said that their hard work and perseverance allowed them to find success this season.

“I think we had a really talented group to begin with, and then to add to it, we all get along really well. We have had to learn to give it our all every game and that no one was going to just hand us a win,” Coleman said. 

While maintaining positive attitudes and bonding well with one another, the team always puts in the time to practice. Almost every day after school from August until last Thursday, the players have worked on developing their skills and expanding their knowledge on the game through practice sessions. The team worked on switching the ball from both sides of the field and using their speed to help them offensively.

“During practice, we have been working on implementing different offensive patterns in our attack. We want our movement to become more fluid and have our midfielders freely interchange with our strikers,” Donovan said. “We like to get the ball out wide and use our speed on the wings to attack. This has helped us a lot offensively this season.”

The underclassmen on the team note the inclusivity of older players on the team and how these bonds have led to major success.

“From day one, every single upperclassmen went out of their way to make sure all of us new players felt welcome. They bonded our team so instantly, which I believe is where we have found our success,” sophomore Elli Mayock said.

All of this teamwork had prepared the team for tough upcoming games in the state tournament, but led to an outcome they were not hoping for. In double overtime, the team lost 1-0 to Boyertown High School on a free kick.

“Since the beginning of the season, our goal had always been to win the state championship, and so it was really exciting to see everything come together after beating Pennridge in the semi-finals,” said senior Jane Castleman. “When Boyertown scored the free kick in the final, I think everyone was in shock since we had battled so hard for over one hundred minutes. Even though we ended up losing, it was great to end the season with one last game together.”