After graduating eight seniors, you’d think that a sports team would face a major blow to its success—but not the girls’ soccer team.
With half of the starters underclassmen, the team is confident that the younger members can handle the varsity level. Three out of the four freshmen on varsity are starters, showing just how dedicated they are to the team. Senior captain Alex Hendry said, “When I’m on the field, I don’t even notice that I’m playing with freshman and sophomores. I’m excited to come back in a few years and see where the program goes.”
“Many players rose to the level of intensity required for varsity soccer,” said junior Saachi Bedi, to compensate for the loss of a whopping seven starters from last season. Despite the new personnel, the team’s game strategy is relatively similar to last year’s. But according to Hendry, “We are much more consistent. Last year, we would have really good games and really bad games; but this year, we’re a lot more dependable in terms of level of play and work ethic.”
The guidance of the three captains— Hendry, Bedi, and senior Taylor Strype—has also helped rebuild the team. “The three lead by example,” said coach Kevin Mackenzie. “They’re all incredibly hard workers, they’re very smart, they make good decisions, they practice well, they take the game seriously. So in terms of being role models for the other girls, they’re exactly what you would want as a coach.”
And the underclassmen certainly agree. Sophomore Emily Schmidt learned how to compensate for playing against girls who are bigger than she is through physical and technical training. “I was a little apprehensive about entering high school, but the upperclassmen on the team went out of their way to make sure I had a smooth transition,” Schmidt said.
The underclassmen have picked up their pace to match the skills of their older peers. “The fact that we’re young really hasn’t affected much strategy because we have excellent leadership. These are very talented players, so youth really hasn’t been an issue,” Mackenzie said.
The team is focusing on cohering as a team. “Everyone on the team works really hard on the field, which brings a great level of energy to the game,” Hendry said. Each member has improved in terms of physical strength and in technical skills, and each uses her individual skills makes the team better. Bedi added, “Our team gels well, and there’s a sense of cohesiveness.”
From freshman to senior, every member is working hard to make this season great. “I am proud to wear the blue or white jersey with the word ‘North’ printed on the chest,” Schmidt said. “It’s a great dream that came true.”