Girls' soccer stays undefeated, ties last year's state champs

The Newtonite

Soccerby Jacob Gurvis

Girls’ soccer, 13-0-1, has continued its success and stays undefeated through the bulk of the season, according to Coach James Hamblin.

“The team has been excellent all season, especially in creating chances to score and knowing how to solve problems on the field,” he said.

According to senior Leah Howard, a captain with seniors Christina Callahan and Amelia Williams, a big factor in their success has been the fact that the Tigers have become comfortable with each other on the field.

“We have really started connecting on the field. At the start a lot of us were taking the hard route, instead of making simple, combination plays. Now we are really starting to understand what each position on the field must do, and how that contributes to our game strategy as a whole,” she said.

The Tigers have certainly created many scoring chances, and have had high scoring games this season. The team has outscored opponents 41-8 with seven shutouts this year. They have also scored at least four goals in six games, while never giving up more than three goals in a single game. The Tigers tied Needham, last year’s State Champions, 1-1, and have beaten every other team they have faced.

Of the 14 games this season, Hamblin said that the 1-1 draw against Needham wascrucial. “All games are important, but the Needham game was our toughest yet and we have them at home on our last day of the season on Senior day, so that should be a great fixture,” he said.

According to Hamblin, the team’s experience has been a big factor this season. In terms of success, “I think the fact that we have eight seniors, who are giving us experience and quality at the right time this year” has helped the team. “We just need to keep as injury-free as possible,” he said.

Howard also noted the team’s familiarity as a benefactor. “We have a really old team that has been playing together for years. We have 18 upperclassmen, and about 12 of us have been playing together since third grade. We understand who we are as players, and the type of movement we make on the field,” she said.

Despite a stellar performance this season, there is always room for improvement, according to Hamblin. “We still need to possess the ball a little more cleanly and understand when to play the final pass rather than force it,” he said.

Howard believes that the team needs to be more consistent in their play.

“Consistency and adaptability are two places where we still need to improve. We had an amazing game against Beverly; everything we had been working on came together in one game. In our next game, we played down to the other team. Once we set the bar, we need to keep it there,” she said.

Howard also believes that everybody has done their part, and no single player should be singled out. “Every player knows how to do their job  well,” she said.

The playoffs are in the near future, and the team hopes to continue their high level of play.

“Right now we want to take each game as it comes and focus on what we need to do for each game to compete and to break down teams. One of our goals was to make tournament, another was to win the Bay State Conference and right now we need to keep our focus to achieve the latter goal,” said Hamblin.

As the playoffs approach, time off will be beneficial as the Tigers try to get healthy as soon as possible. “The tournament is always tough, every team can win on any given day. We are hurting right now with injuries, so our ideal playoff picture would be to have as many players back healthy and fit ready to go. We should get a bye in the preliminary rounds and then we hope to compete in every game we play,” said Hamblin.

Howard also has high hopes for the Tigers for the remainder of the season. “We want to finish off the season undefeated, and go deep into tournament. This is our year, and that fuels everyone on the team.  If we continue to hold the bar high and play to our potential, we believe we can go all the way in tournament. We must continue to put in the day-to-day hard work to get there, but it is in our reach,” she said.

The Tigers have three remaining games during the regular season. They play Brookline on the road on Tuesday, then Framingham and Needham at home on Thursday and Monday respectively.