Bryn Mawr >> Soccer matches are often decided by the slightest of margins, and in the span of six days, the Shipley girls’ soccer team suffered two heartbreaking defeats.
The Gators (10-7-2) were edged 1-0 in the Friends’ Schools League finals by host Westtown, then Tuesday, Shipley fell to Germantown Academy in the PAISAA quarterfinals, with the latter being the final match of their successful 2018 campaign, along with the final high school game for three seniors who played a key role in raising the level of the program.
“The senior leadership we had this season shaped our season,” said Shipley junior Sarah Cotteta. “We had Elie (Shapiro) cheering us on; Grace (Gordon) keeping things positive and Elizabeth (Talluto) always being there. We couldn’t have had the success we had without them.”
Shipley sophomore Mackenzie Medina added, “I learned how the team took care of each other and bonded on and off the field.”
Despite the bitter taste these losses might leave, Shipley has plenty to be proud of, especially the way they rebounded from their loss to Westtown with a 3-2 win over Agnes Irwin the following day in the opening round of the PAISAA state tournament.
“The win over Agnes Irwin in the first round of PAISAA was great,” said senior goalie Grace Gordon. “We had just lost a tough one to Westtown in a game that could have gone either way and this game showed how we don’t give up.”
Cotteta added, “That win over Agnes Irwin spoke to the character of the team and how we never give up and continue to support each other.”
Entering the campaign with a relatively young squad, the Gators took the advice of coach Dakota Carroll, a former standout player at Shipley before attending St. Bonaventure and completing a successful career in Olean, N.Y.
“I just kept telling the team to believe in themselves, in each other and in the coaches,” said Carroll. “I wanted to keep reinforcing to them that they earned the season that they had ,and that they should play with pride, I’m very proud of what they have accomplished and look forward for what’s to come for this team.”
While they lose three key players in Gordon, Talluto and Shapiro, the Gators will return nine starters from a team that advanced to the Friends’ Schools League championship game for the third consecutive year along with the PAISAA state quarterfinals.
Returning next year for Shipley will be goalie Abby Aughe, center mid Kahlia Bailey, center mid Katie Bergen, center mid Hannah Brainsky, center back Sarah Cotteta, forward Jaiden Griffin, forward Liv Hamilton, midfielder Ava Horowitz, midfield/forward Mackenzie Medina, defender Georgia Paynter and defender/midfielder Lexi Wojtelwicz.
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