by Andrew Feinberg and Tate Slater, Sports Reporters
photos by Maureen Caulfield
In the past 22 years the girls soccer team has qualified for the playoffs 20 times. With 16 athletes returning from last season’s roster (which capped their 21 game undefeated streak with a run to the final four), the team has consistently been ranked in the top 0.5% of teams in the nation and among the top teams in the state.
After a promising start to the season, the team’s chemistry, talent and dedication have continued to be strong.
A roster of 11 seniors includes four who have committed to continue playing in college. Senior Amanda Cheng said that their impressive roster contributes to their success.
“[We have a lot of] pure talent. Obviously, there is a lot of value in good teamwork, but honestly we just have really good players on our team,” she said.
No matter the amount of talent, however, the team is bound to face some challenging matchups, and that’s why their versatility has been so valuable, senior captain Bria Abbiati said.
“We’ve had a ton of different people scoring goals and assisting goals, and being able to just move people around has let us best succeed against certain teams,” she said. “If a team has a really fast player, we just have one of our fastest players go on them.”
Abbiati said that their collective ability to overcome other teams’ strengths and take advantage of weaknesses has been an influential factor to the team’s success.
Having been on the team for four years, Abbiati said she has experienced ups and downs throughout her high school career. Now, as the team looks to compete for the state title, she said the team’s bond has been especially strong this year.
“We’ve been doing really well. I’m working on our team chemistry and our communication, and I feel like we’ve been able to work together and be selfless,” she said.
Cheng said the captains have pushed them to be the best they can on the field and as a community.
“We have captains who are amazing that are constantly pushing us to be our best physically, but also the best teammates to each other. They’re always pushing us to have positive communication by holding each other accountable, but in positive ways,” she said.
Freshman Sarah Schwartz said that she felt welcomed and like she was a part of the team before the season even began.
“Before the season, we had preseason, and we got to know each other pretty well, ” she said. ”It’s cool to bond and hang out off the field too, which I feel translates onto the field.”
Head coach Doug McCarthy said that the team’s unity has been the secret to their ability to work together.
“We have a motto — we are many, we are one. We’re just not going to be successful if we don’t embody the team concept and take that into all of our games,” he said.
Chemistry, talent and positivity play large roles in the team’s success, Schwartz said. After losses against Brookline, Franklin and Acton-Boxborough, she said they have utilized their strong community to bounce back.
“We’re treating it like the season’s starting now, and we’re trying not to lose again, and just moving on from the game we lost and finding the best way to respond,” she said.
Their positive mentality is what makes the team so special, senior team manager Jillie McLeod said.
“Last year, we got really close. We lost in the semi finals and walking off that field, we all kind of felt we had what it took to get us there and we hope that this year we’ll be able to make it further,” she said.
The successful season has been particularly significant for the players who returned from last year’s team, senior Luka Marceau said. She said that she hopes their last shot at the state championship brings success.
“For most of the team, this is our last ride,” she said. “We want to end with a bang.”