Team looks to go far in Division I

Team looks to go far in Division I

daniela quinter(Go): Forward Daniela Quintero ’22 dribbles the ball in a Jan. 15 match against Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy. The Wolverines ended up losing the match by a final score of 1-0. Credit: Justin Goldstein /Chronicle

The girls’ soccer team is currently ranked second in Mission League behind Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy. Both teams are neck and neck in league, but the Wolverines are 10-2-3 while the Tologs are 9-2.
As the playoff picture develops, winning every game will be essential to the Wolverines’ chance at a league title defender Natalie Phillips ’21 said.
So far, the season has included five blowout victories and two close losses. The team is also undefeated on the road.
Yet, this season’s record of 9-2-3 is still overshadowed by last season’s undefeated streak of 23 matches that continued all the way into CIF Playoffs.
The starting roster includes mostly sophomores, a handful of seasoned juniors and a couple freshmen. Although the roster consists of no seniors, each underclassman is gaining experience as the season progresses, Phillips said.
“I’ve been so impressed with all the freshman, sophomores and juniors this year for rising to the challenge,” Phillips said. “I think our performance has shown this.”
Despite the lack of seniors, the team has found leadership in the junior class, defender Ella Watkins ’22 said.
“I would say that [Phillips] and Devon Carmel [’21] have stepped up as leaders since there are no seniors on the team,” Watkins said.
Both Phillips and Carmel have been on the varsity squad since freshman year and played key roles in winning a league title last season.
“They have stepped up as the mothers of the team,” Watkins said. “[They are] very encouraging on the field, get us hyped for game days and organize our game day outfits.”
After assessing areas to improve, the Wolverines hope to build grit for big time matches, Phillips said.
“Every one of us has stepped up,” Phillips said. “With the lack of seniors this year, we’ve identified that our one vulnerability is our maturity and our ability to step up and face the challenges we are presented with.”
Through league play, the team is looking to capitalize on scoring opportunities, forward Sophia Haynes ’22 said. Several times this year, the Wolverines have been in position to score on corner kicks, penalty kicks and fast breaks, but were unable succeed.
“We could have improved on our shooting and finishing to put away our chances like just staying calm when we’re trying to score,” Haynes said.
In addition to utilizing field position, the squad has improved its chemistry off the field. On its trip to Fort Worth, Texas, the team had the opportunity to bond at the National Elite Prep Showcase over winter break, Watkins said.
“[The trip] helped team bonding as we were spending so much time either playing soccer or at the hotel together, and it helps with communication on the field,” Watkins said.
As the team competes for its second consecutive Mission League title, the stakes add a sense of pride to its mission, Haynes said.
“It feels very nice to have a common goal to strive for and it is helping to motivate our team as we go through the season,” Haynes said.
On Friday, the squad will face off against Flintridge Sacred Heart at home. With the Mission League title on the line, Phillips said, the team looks to rally together and come out with a victory after losing to the Tologs at home 1-0 Jan. 15.
“Although we have had good and bad days, we all have been able to reflect on our performance and take responsibility for what we do,” Phillips said. “That’s why I am proud to be a part of the team.”

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