BALTIMORE – Life is just full of coincidences. Ask Mount Saint Mary’s freshman defender and recent Council Rock South graduate Maria Buonomo. The outside back for the Mount was almost sure she wanted to go to Loyola when she took an overnight visit to Mount Saint Mary’s.
“I totally fell in love with the community and I fell in love with the team,” she explained at a college commitment ceremony held at CR South in February. “Coach (Joe) Nemzer has a vision for the team that I want to be a part of.”
Fast forward to Friday, Aug. 18 in Baltimore where MSM just happened to be opening its season at Loyola, a 75-minute drive from the Mount’s home turf at Waldron Family Stadium. With the sides deadlocked at 1-all heading into the final 20 minutes of regulation, Buonomo headed in a corner kick from junior Jenna West for the game-winner.
After getting an insurance goal from junior Kayla Hughes in the 81st minute, Mount Saint Mary’s went on to a 3-1 triumph at Ridley Athletic Complex.
Thus far, Buonomo, who hails from Churchville, has started all four games for the Mount, who are 3-1 on the season including wins over Howard and Hampton.
Maria represents the last of eight sisters who played high school soccer at Council Rock. Four of the Buonomo girls took their games to the next level including Sarah, who minded the nets at Boston College, Michaela, an outside defender who played at Georgetown, and Lola, another goalkeeper who played at Penn State. All were CR South graduates.
“Playing soccer is kind of a like a requirement in my family,” said Buonomo. “And I’m following in the family footsteps by playing college ball.”
Maria says that since her freshman year in high school, she knew she wanted to play college soccer. She credits her sisters with helping her to take her game to the next level.
“They helped me with emailing coaches, what to say. When they watched me play, they were kind of like my own personal coaches.
“I would go home and they would say ‘you have to open up; you have to do this.’ It was nice to have seven coaches that really helped me. It was awesome.”
That sisterly advice will most likely continue throughout her time in college.
“They know how it is,” she says. “They told me there’s going to be ups and downs. They were real with me about what college soccer is like.”
While the Hawks made states in 2015, Maria’s junior campaign at CR South, she says, mostly what she got out of high school soccer was the bonds with her teammates.
“It was great to be a part of the program at South,” she said. “It’s definitely built my character. I learned that when there’s hard times, it’s OK to turn to the other girls.
“I always had 20 of my closest friends supporting me on and off the field. They helped me keep my focus.”
Sleepovers, movie nights, ice cream parties and a program the Hawks call Little Sister, Big Sister whereby the South players take an underclassman under their wing were all part of team-bonding events on Rock Way.
Now, most of Buonomo’s team-bonding experiences will take place within the shadows of Waldron Family Stadium in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where the Mount takes the pitch and home field of Maria’s new soccer family.
TOP PHOTO: Recent Council Rock South graduate Maria Buonomo tallied the game-winning goal for Mount Saint Mary’s in the team’s recent season-opening win over Loyola. (John Gleeson – 21st-Century Media)