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Baldwin, Haverford School and Shipley soccer programs unite to create kickoff doubleheader

(Photo courtesy of Baldwin School – Jay Gorodetzer Photography) Baldwin School junior midfielder Natalie Sgro dribbles past freshman Shipley midfielder Georgia Paynter during the Baldwin soccer doubleheader Sept. 6.

Bryn Mawr – Since his arrival at Baldwin School five years ago,  Assistant Athletic Director and head soccer coach Adrian Cox  has been thinking of different ways to create special events.

Last fall, Baldwin and Haverford School soccer had a doubleheader but it wasn’t the same opponent. Also last fall, Baldwin hosted Agnes Irwin and Haverford played Penn Charter on Baldwin’s campus.

Since Haverford School, Shipley School and Baldwin already had each other as an opposition on their respective soccer schedules, the idea of hosting a doubleheader involving the schools to help build a community feel was proposed. On Sept. 6, that idea became a reality.

“With Baldwin and Haverford both playing Shipley every season in soccer, and all three schools are located very close to each other, I thought it would be great to partner with our brother school Haverford and schedule a doubleheader on our campus to kickoff the fall season,” said Cox, who became head coach of Baldwin soccer in 2015. “All three schools have strong soccer programs and the doubleheader format allows our teams to play in front of good crowds and it is a festive atmosphere.”

Baldwin senior Rachel White echoed her coach’s sentiments: “An event like this is really nice. It gets us motivated during the school day and it’s great to see our parents and friends come out and cheer.”

Although the weather did not cooperate as Cox may have hoped, the games went off without a hitch, with Baldwin squaring off against Shipley in the opening game followed by Haverford School opposing Shipley in the second contest.

“It’s a cool idea,” said Shipley senior Ian McGrath. “Being so close together we probably don’t connect as much as we probably should and this doubleheader is a great way to support our fellow girls team as well as friends from the other schools involved.”

Haverford School captain Will Baltrus added, “I believe the experience of playing with other schools, like our sister school, is a special experience. Having our friends there from Baldwin, cheering us on, provides a new surge of energy that can bring the intensity of the game to the next level. This only makes for a more enjoyable experience.”

While Baldwin and Haverford School emerged victorious in their respective match, Cox hopes this event could turn into an annual kick-off event for the fall season.

“I think this is beneficial towards the collaborative nature of the two schools as it helps Haverford and Baldwin unite around a shared experience,” said Baltrus. “It also helps that we are playing the same opponent in Shipley as each year I think this event will grow in anticipation.”

“Playing a doubleheader makes the game more fun,” said White. “There is a lot more happening and everyone has a better time.”

McGrath added, “We’ve always had a good game against Haverford and it serves as great preparation for (Friends’ Schools League) play. It’s great to be able to support your fellow team as well as friends from other schools.”

The proposed plan is to rotate the host site each season between the three schools. Since Baldwin hosted this year, either Shipley or Haverford School will host next year with the third school hosting the following year.

“The soccer doubleheader was created to enhance the student-athlete experience and to build community between Baldwin, Haverford and Shipley,” said Cox. “All three schools have a rich history of academic and athletic excellence.The doubleheader allows our student-athletes to compete in a fun and exciting environment. It is a great way to kickoff the fall season and school year.”

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