by Grace Grabowski, Sports Reporter
photo courtesy of the NSHS Athletics Instagram
The girls soccer team had an undefeated season and made it to the semifinals of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association state tournament; neither feat has ever been done in South’s history. This victory came after a difficult fall sports season hit by below freezing temperatures.
As girls soccer assistant varsity coach Ashley Vollaro said, “the fall [season] is always a grind.”
This was not the first time the girls soccer program has stood out as a bright spot for South athletics; over the past few years, the team has consistently made the playoffs and produced many college athletes.
Vollaro said that the team’s mindset and determination throughout the long season led them to their success.
“Something that sets this team apart is their resilience,” Vollaro said. “A lot of teams that have quality players don’t make it because they can’t mentally cope with everything going on with school and soccer and injuries, but this team impressed me so much.”
The team finished the season with a record of 12-0-6, which was not an easy feat, especially following last year’s unusual season due to COVID-19, captain and senior Isabella Lanzillo said.
“In the year coming off of COVID-19, it was kind of unpredictable what we were going to do with the season,” Lanzillo said. “We got really close as a team, and we started working really well together, [which] allowed us to be really successful throughout the season.”
Sophomore Sienna Masood said that the team’s close bonds could be seen in their on-field performance.
“We all have fun together and we all have confidence in one another, and we all know we’re going to do well,” Masood said. “Even if we don’t do well, we’ll have each other’s backs and do better the next time.”
Junior Jessie Lee said that the team’s connectedness paired well with the experienced players on the team, whcih helped to build stability going into the season.
“When I was a freshman, we had a really young team, and now, we’re getting older and we have a lot of juniors, some seniors and sophomores,” she said. “It was good to see that we were maturing, and we were a lot stronger this year.”
Although the team’s playoff run came to an end with their 4-0 loss against Hingham in the Nov. 17 quarterfinals, the team focused on and celebrated their many accomplishments this season.
“It was sad [to lose], but it wasn’t our greatest game. Hingham is a really good team, and we fought our hardest,” Lanzillo said. “We were upset about it, but we didn’t let it affect us super hard just because of all the other accomplishments we’d made in the season. Everyone was proud of each other for getting to where we got to.”
Meanwhile, the underclassmen on the team are looking forward to having another chance at winning the Dual County League cup next year.
“We were sad that it was over, but we were really proud that we came that far because no one else has come that far,” Masood said.
With 20 players potentially returning next season, the team looks to build off of their success from this historical season, Vollaro said.
“[Some] goals would be, teamwise, to create a similar bond that the girls had this year, having the same work ethic, showing up and to win a state championship is the ultimate goal,” Vollaro said.