Rosemont >> The Baldwin School and Agnes Irwin, sharing similar values, have always look to partner with each other to help celebrate special occasions. On Sept. 21, the two schools’ soccer teams faced off as part of Agnes Irwin’s 150th anniversary of the school.
“It’s great playing against Agnes Irwin,” said Baldwin senior Alex Loomis. “We are two amazing schools and to be able to play against them is always an honor. We always try to get them when we have special occasions. We have a great partnership.”
Baldwin keeper Taylor Levinson added, “It’s very special to play on a day like this. We have a great rivalry and at the end of the day we respect each other.”
“I have been here for eight years and Agnes Irwin sports have been a big part of my life here,” said Agnes Irwin senior Natalie Pansini. “I always enjoy playing Baldwin especially on a day like this when the school is celebrating its 150th anniversary.”
In a tight contest, Baldwin prevailed for a 1-0 win. The game was scoreless with approximately 34 minutes left when Baldwin was awarded a direct kick. Loomis lined up for the direct and struck the ball perfectly from about 30 yards out and placed just over the outstretched arm of Irwin keeper Amelia Layden into the back of the net.
“As I lined up for the kick, I knew I had to shoot high,” said the senior striker. “They had a good wall in place, so I knew I had to shoot high. I also know when I shoot high, I am able to put a good curve on the ball.”
For the rest of the game, the Owls went on the attack peppering the Polar Bears defense and keeper Taylor Levinson. With each scoring opportunity the Owls had, either the Baldwin defense got the clearing or Levinson made a huge save to preserve the game.
“She (Taylor) is an amazing goalie as well was being an amazing field player,” said Loomis. “When she was moved from field player to goalie it was hard, but I have never been prouder of her for coming big this season for us when we needed a goalie.”
Levinson, who has not played goalie since she first started playing when she was young, needed to step up for her team, who lost starting keeper Rani Bleznak prior to the start of the season.
“When I found out what happened I went home and talked with my parents and told them I think I need to step up and help the team,” said Levinson, who finished with six saves and five goalie clearances. “I played when I was younger, so I knew how to dive and what to do.”
“Taylor was a difference maker in today’s game,” said Baldwin soccer head coach Adrian Cox. “She made a number of excellent saves and her decision-making was flawless. She anticipates plays and reads the game well. Taylor made a number of strong defensive clearances outside the penalty box, which prevented Agnes Irwin strikers from getting breakaways. Overall, Taylor is a talented field player and multi-sport athlete. She is a selfless teammate. With the absence of junior Rani Bleznak due to an ankle injury, Taylor has stepped right in and provided strong leadership and confidence to a young team. At one point during the game we had seven freshmen and sophomores on the field.”
With plenty of season remaining both teams will learn from this contest and continue to keep their eyes on the prize of an Inter-Ac title.
“It’s always great to get a result on the road against rival Agnes Irwin in your Inter-Ac League opener,” said Cox. “We have a lot of games remaining in the league (11) and there are no easy games. We will continue to learn from these experiences, grow individually and collectively as a team and prepare for EA at home [Sept. 24] and SCHA away on [Sept. 27].”
“I thought we played hard today but unfortunately did not get the result we wanted,” said Agnes Irwin senior Natalie Pansini. “We just have to learn from this and continue to get better.”
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