It seems like each time the Lower Merion girls’ soccer team has suffered a loss they have come together to bounce back and win their next match.
On Sept. 22, it was no different, when the Aces traveled to Marple Newtown and came away with a 3-0 win just two days after a difficult setback against visiting Penncrest.
“This win is so important,” said Lower Merion sophomore Lily Elman. “It really helps to bring back our confidence and to show us that we can do this and we can score and it was just a one time thing and we are a good team and that we will work hard until the final buzzer.”
Lower Merion head coach Kevin Ries said, “We lost to Marple last year 1-0 and I knew this would be a close, one-goal game. Any league game win is a huge boost in a team’s confidence.”
The key ingredient in Lower Merion’s recipe of bouncing back from a loss has been the senior leadership provided by Alexa Cotler, Lizzy D’Alonzo, Lexie Sutton and Julia Utkus, who have achieved the challenging task of bringing a team consisting of new and returning players together to form a cohesive unit to have success on the pitch.
“This year’s seniors have been great all season for us on and off the field,” Ries said. “They keep the underclassmen focused and ready to play every game. This senior group has played in a lot of big games for me over their career. They know that wins have to be earned on the field.”
Utkus said, “I believe that we have a lot of talent, these girls are technically advanced and we are working well together as a team. Our team in general has always had a close connection and I think these girls are starting to come into our family and we are working well together. On top of talent we have this dynamic and they are meeting our standard of LMGS. We are improving every day.”
Elman added, “The seniors have been amazing. They are your best friends not only on the field but also in school. They always have your best interest at heart and they are always there for you helping build your confidence.”
Despite tough losses to Central League foes Haverford High School, Strath Haven and Penncrest, the Aces showed their resiliency bouncing back from each loss with victories over Interboro, Cardinal O’Hara, Coatesville and Central League rival Marple Newtown.
Against the Tigers, Lower Merion tallied two first half goals and had a shot of putting the game out of reach right before the buzzer but Isabelle Kuszyk’s shot caromed off the crossbar.
While Lower Merion kept applying pressure in the second half, Marple keeper Halle Robinson made some key saves eventually finishing the match with five saves.
Against Coatesville, it was the sophomore duo of Kuszyk and Elman combining for the second score of the game.
Another aspect in LM’s success has been the play of junior keeper Lindsay Palish, who has registered four shutouts.
“Lindsay has been doing great this year,” Utkus said. “She has stepped up and it has helped us get positive results.”
With continued progression thanks in large part to the five seniors and a healthy part of their roster consisting of underclassmen, the future certainly looks bright for the Aces.
“We want the underclassmen to fall under good leadership and lead by example,” said Utkus. “Hopefully they will follow and continue to foster the same philosophy.”
Elman added, “I have learned to always be there for my teammates and be a positive role model. We are close knit team that never gives up.”
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