Girls soccer values team chemistry, veteran athletes, effective practices

 For the girls soccer team, team chemistry has been the key to success. At 8–3–1 as of October 20, the team has scored 29 goals and conceded only 12. According to Co-Captain Taylor Lis ’16, a center attacking midfielder and forward, communication and chemistry among the players are prioritized to maximize the cohesiveness of the team.

“I’m feeling really good about our team chemistry. I think something that we’ve done really well is learning everyone’s strengths and weaknesses and what we need to do to get our players the ball,” Lis said.

One contributing factor to the team’s cohesion is that it has an unusual number of veteran players. “We have 11 seniors. We haven’t had that since 2003. The dynamic there is fun to work with,” said Head Coach Valerie Rodriguez.

The team honored its seniors  at senior day on October 15. The players went on to beat Allentown High School 3–2 in double overtime with senior Lis scoring two goals.

Last season the team struggled with injuries and have been taking measures to prevent them. “[We see the athletic trainer] Koch more regularly, [and] stop play as soon as we feel anything get hurt. It’s always a recurring problem in a sport like soccer,” Lis said.

Going into the season, the team had high expectations set, and Rodriguez said that all of her players have worked to accomplish its goals thus far, despite the physical hurdle of injuries.

“The team understands that it has the potential to go all the way and become state champions,” said center back Zoe Tesone ’17.

After last year’s defeat in the second round of the state tournament, the girls know that improvement is necessary this time around in order to get further in the tournament.

“We plan on working hard … [and] getting a high ranking [in the state tournament], so that we do not have to play a tougher team on the way to the later rounds so we can play some easier teams and then hopefully win,” Tesone said.

According to center midfielder Devon Lis ’18, a new mindset is necessary to achieve this goal.

“We wanted to focus on taking our season game by game. It is definitely important to look short term in order to achieve the long term goals, so we need to focus on each game and improving upon each game so that we can have more experience against some of our tougher opponents down the road,” Lis said.

Such goals include incorporating all of the girls on the field into the play and working as a cohesive team.

“[We wanted to] mainly get a lot of shutouts, and work as a team … [and] to move the ball around so that everyone could get playing time,” Tesone said. “We also want to earn the best seed we can so that we are well positioned for the state playoffs. We want to go in playing strong and carrying a lot of momentum.”

In anticipation of the postseason, Rodriguez is urging the team to play to its strengths by focusing on individual scrimmages during games and moving the ball forward through the center. However, despite these strengths, there are still areas of improvement for the team for the remainder of the season, namely playing smart toward the end of the game to pull off the win.

“We have a lot of talented 1 v. 1 players, midfielders in particular, so a lot of times we’re taking people on and beating them 1 v. 1,” Rodriguez said. “We play with five midfielders so the strength of the team is certainly there.”

Devon Lis ’18 dribbles the ball up the field on October 8 against WW-PN. The teams tied 0–0. Photo: Nathan Drezner

Devon Lis ’18 dribbles the ball up the field on October 8 against WW-PN. The teams tied 0–0.
Photo: Nathan Drezner

 

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