Marist Eagles girls’ soccer team hungry for wins this year
By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Baltic - posted Tue., Sep. 20, 2011
Academy of the Holy Family girls’ soccer coach Roxanne Mansfield calls her team “hungry” this season. And their ability to communicate during play is key to their hopes. After a disappointing 2-15-1 record last fall, the Marist Eagles are eager to prove they can turn things around on the pitch. “They’re a team to be reckoned with this year,” Mansfield said. “They’re hungry. They want to win.”
While none of her four senior captains are four-year players, Mansfield said that all her players have plenty of on-field experience from playing for other schools or in youth soccer programs. Three of the seniors – Andrea Bird, Kelsey Wilson and Micala Smith – play forward, while Joanna Cataldo plays sweeper. Bird is also the team’s go-to goal tender.
“Our forwards are solid. They all pass really well, and their communication is excellent out on the field,” said Mansfield. “Our newcomers have a great group to learn from.”
Smith is back this season after being out much of last year with injuries. “They hindered her playing time, so she’s out this year to push the team,” said her coach. “She wants to make states – that’s her goal. Her whole attitude is tenacious.”
Bird has already proven her worth in the team’s initial outing against Putnam on Sept. 15, blocking half a dozen goal attempts and holding the score to 5-1, in Putnam’s favor. “She’s an asset, no matter what sport she plays,” said Mansfield, who also coaches softball for the Academy. “It also helps that she’s a three-sport athlete at the school.” Bird’s standout softball skills transfer well to the pitch, she said.
Other leaders on the team are sophomores Hannah Steinke, a forward, and Shelby Graver, who plays defense. “The two of them are just tremendous athletes,” said Mansfield. “They push the other girls, even as underclassmen. You can see the desire in them.”
Senior Brooke Elgart, playing her first year for AHF, scored the team’s first goal of the season in the final minutes of the game against Putnam.
Last year’s team tallied a win and a tie against Vinal Tech, which couldn’t field a team this year and is off the schedule. Mansfield said that apart from longtime rival Parish Hill, the Marist Eagles should face their biggest challenge from Classical and University high schools. “They’re both very tough, aggressive teams to play against. They’ll be pushing to put up a fight,” she said.