[Sept. 2016 Sports] Six freshmen make leap to varsity soccer

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By Phoebe Mendelson ’17 and Julia Rosier ’18 Features Editor

Staples Wreckers have taken on six new freshmen for this upcoming 2016 season: Ava Simunovic ’20, Julia Lombardo ’20, Kathryn Ialeggio ’20, Marlo Von Der Ahe ’20, Reese Sutter ‘20 and Mia Gonzalez ’20. “Tryouts were very nerve-racking,” Simunovic said. “Staples has great competition, and I was striving to make varsity, so I knew it would be difficult.”

The tryouts for girls’ varsity soccer consisted of intense fitness training and running tests, such as timed 300-yard runs and the Manchester United fitness test, consisting of 100-yard sprints, as well as multiple scrimmages. “Tryouts were hard, lots of fitness and definitely challenging. I was not expecting to make varsity, but I thought that I had a chance,” Gonzalez said.

Last season there were four freshmen who played for varsity, which enhanced the team dynamic. Now, with six freshmen, the girls believe their team will thrive not only because of their skills but because of their relationships on and off the field.

Co-captain Tia Zajec ’17 believes that having them on the team has furthered the competition and talent within the team. “I think a benefit of having so many freshman is that they are able to improve their skills and prepare for the next three years by training with older players. It also adds new talent to the team,” Zajec said.

Coach Barry Beattie has seen a tremendous increase in terms of the confidence of the six freshmen.  “I’d say the one thing they have all improved so far is their confidence- to know you can do something is a great thing,” Beattie said.

Julia Lombardo ’20 scored in their first game against Trinity Catholic on Saturday, Sept. 10. However, while all six players did make varsity, not all will see equal playing time.

Co-captain Morgan McWhirter ’17 says that the competition among the six of them is only benefiting how hard they work. “There is still the competition factor, which they take seriously, because not all of them will play,” McWhirter said. “I think it’s a little hard for some of them seeing their friends get game time when they don’t, but that’s the same for every grade.”

Through the strain of practice, and the demands of wealthy competition, the team has bonded. “The Staples team is like a family. I feel so happy and comfortable talking to any of the girls,” Simunovic said. “We have an awesome team and I’m so excited to spend the rest of the season with them.”