Girls’ soccer defends the field

Everett Perschall, staff writer

Freshly cut grass, retying the laces on a pair of cleats, and competing on a warm spring day are some of the girls’ soccer team’s favorite moments during the season, Coach Mark Daniels said. The girls’ varsity soccer team has had two seasons altered due to Covid-19, however, the team is enjoying a normal season with a 5-6 record, Daniels said.

Junior Kate Winter said with the team’s combined chemistry and experience together from past years, the girls have been able to stay focused on the field, and form a solid bond.

“We have all played together throughout the years a lot,” Winter said. “We work well together and know each other’s strengths, so we know who to pass [the ball] to and who works well with who. Our goal this year is to stay focused.”

The Titans have 28 girls on the varsity team alone, which is one of their biggest rosters yet, Daniels said. However, he faced the challenge of promising playing time to each individual on the team. With the majority consisting of juniors and seniors, there is a total of four underclassmen added to the team, two freshmen, and two sophomores.

“The freshmen and sophomores are doing a great job,” Daniels said. “All of [the athletes] can play. [However], it’s going to be [a] challenge to find playing time for everyone.”

Senior Captain Lily O’Rourke, a D1 commit for DePaul University, said she is up to the task of being the best team player she can be. O’Rourke expects her team to be at their best during games, and also be present while watching their Titan teammates from the sidelines.

“As a captain of the team, it’s important to be able to lead both on and off the field,” O’Rourke said. “There’s a lot of underclassmen who have a lot of skill, and being able to mentor them and help them adjust to the season is one important goal.”

O’Rourke has also learned that being a leader comes with supporting her teammates and changing her playing style to benefit others, and help her teammates to be the best they can be.

“The seniors and the captains [use] every burst of energy they have,” O’Rourke said.  “[This] adds to the whole style of play, and I think it rebounds off of people.”

Senior striker Bella Gemignani also focuses on positivity in tough moments. Gemingnani takes motivation from being the best player she can be to elevate her performance.

“[A] positive attitude is definitely what brings the team closer together,” Gemingnani said. “We give words of encouragement not trying to discourage other people so we’re always trying to hype each other up.”

Gemignani, said at South soccer is tougher, grittier and more physical on the field in comparison to her club soccer games.

“High school [soccer] is definitely a more physical game,” Gemignani said. “It’s more pushy so I’m definitely going to work on getting myself to go hard on every ball.”

Daniels said his team is ready for the rest of the year to continue to strive towards their goal of winning state, and to be focused for the remainder of their season.

“Our theme of the season is to stay focused on every detail, every game, every practice and stay on it,” Daniels said.