By JOHN GLEESON, 21st-Century Media News Svc.
NEWTOWN – Opening games can be real tone setters for any team. A fast start builds confidence and team chemistry. A sluggish early go leads to concern. The Council Rock North girls soccer team followed the former road on Sept. 4 as they rallied to down a tough Conestoga team 3-2 in their home opener.
Going into this season, the Indians hoped to build off of last year’s 13-6 mark. Under the direction of first year coach Wendell Beres, North won six more games than they did in 2013. That success has led to even greater optimism for the 2015 campaign with a definite aim at success in the postseason.
Sophomore Mia Scalamandre, returning veteran midfielder, believes in the Rock’s potential. “This year has definitely been different form last year. Wendell (Beres) has a huge schedule and plans for us. We definitely want to make it to districts and we’re capable of going to states.”
Mia’s optimistic outlook is based on a faith in her teammates. “I think we are a strong and courageous group. Everyone puts in a hundred percent. We had a rough start against Conestoga but once coach got us going we turned it on and started playing like we can.”
Taking on Conestoga in the first game was certainly no walk in the park. The Cougars, who boast several key returning starters, made it all the way to the District One quarterfinals last year. Though a veteran of varsity wars herself, Mia still felt a few ‘new season’ jitters.
“I was a bit nervous because I was playing a new position and it was a whole new year of soccer. I tried to get that out of my head and stick to soccer because CR North is my home and these girls are my family. Even though they were extremely aggressive, I wanted to keep fighting for my sisters.”
The Indians seemed a bit tentative as the Cougars built up a 2-0 lead late in the second half. Coach Beres knew he had to rouse his team. “He told us we looked totally dead. We weren’t winning any of the 50-50 balls. We weren’t playing like he knows we can play. He said he knew we were capable of playing ten times better. He said we needed to pick it up now!”
To spark his offensive attack, coach Beres made some frontline changes. He moved midfielders Tori Hill and Mia further up on the offensive end. The switch offered Mia a new challenge. “In high school, coach Beres uses me as a holding mid. Me and Tori play like a diamond in the center. I am more of the defensive mid and Tori is more of the attacking center mid.”
The switch against ‘Stoga proved just the catalyst the Indians’ offense needed. In the 62nd minute sophomore forward Becca Margolis took a pass from Kayla Robinson and drove the ball by the Conestoga goalie. Six minutes later Mia tied the score at 2-2 when she headed the ball into the Cougars’ goal.
Mia will long remember her first goal of the 2015 season. “It was a corner kick. Tori Hall took it. We have a play where five of us line up toward the top of the goal. When Tori kicked it I drop in case it goes far post. It came around the center of the goal and I just headed it in.”
The equalizer sent the game into overtime. In the 87th minute of play Kayla Robinson took a pass from Tori Hill and booted it home for the winning tally. “The actual goal was a penalty kick near the fifty. Tori grabbed the ball and put it down quickly and then passed it through. Kayla came on quickly and scored.”
The 3-2 victory lifted the Indians spirit. “We were so relieved. When Kayla put it through we were all so happy.”
Based on the courage and resiliency they showed in their opener, the Lady Indians should prove a force in the very competitive SOL National Division.
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