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Girls soccer secures runner-up title in state championship

Lily Chen / The SPOKE
End of the season: The girls’ soccer team poses for a team photo after the PIAA 4A State Championship. The girls took the state runner up title after falling to Pennridge High School in the state finals on Nov. 17.

By Juliana Yao, Co-Sports Editor

The girls’ varsity soccer team ended its season on Nov. 17 as the Central League champions, and second in the district and  state tournaments.

The team won the Central League title for the first time since 2018 and reached the state finals this year after doing so in 2021. Head coach Deane Mariotti believes that the girls’ loss in the quarterfinals round last season helped motivate them this year.

“We had a number of returning players that left the 2022 season feeling like they wanted to have gone further,” Mariotti said. “Many of them definitely had on their goals list getting to state finals, and so I think just having that mental goal and target was a really helpful starting point for this season.”

The girls focused on creating a strong team bond this year. Senior and co-captain Greta Steege said that although strong teamwork with the underclassmen took some time to build, it was already pronounced with many of the returning athletes.

“A lot of us have been playing together since third grade, since the very first year of club soccer, and so I trust everyone on that field so much,” Steege said. “I think we also did a really good job of incorporating the younger players and new players that we haven’t necessarily played with as long as we have the others.”

Senior Chloe Brown emphasized the importance of teamwork to this year’s team, attributing much of this season’s  success to the camaraderie and new  coaching staff.

“With our new coaches, I think our team chemistry among the players has become a lot stronger. We’re all such good friends off the field, which helps our team chemistry on the field,” Brown said.

Aside from the team’s bonds, Steege said that a contributing factor to the players’ accomplishments was the fusion of capitalizing on their offensive chances and improving their defense.

“Just that combo makes a big difference. Once we scored one goal this year, we didn’t stop there,” Steege said. “We kept going, and especially in the beginning of the season, we were scoring six, eight goals a game. I think that set us up well for the postseason.”

According to Mariotti, this strengthened offensive mindset is partially what allowed the girls to score 99 goals this season, almost 30 more than last year. Despite the team’s loss in the state finals to Pennridge High School, Mariotti believes the athletes’ commitment and passion showed during the game.

“I thought the girls played with incredible effort and heart. We were the only team to score on Pennridge in the postseason,” Mariotti said. “I felt that they could walk away from that game feeling proud about how they played and the effort that they put into it.”

Juliana Yao can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Juliana Yao
Juliana Yao, Co-Opinion Editor
Juliana Yao is a junior and the Co-Sports Editor of The Spoke. She was previously a Staff Reporter and often writes for the Sports and Opinion sections. Aside from The Spoke, she is a member of the varsity girls’ swim team. As a sports editor, she oversees the writing and journalistic process of reporters in her section.