The Road to NYSAIS: Girls’ Soccer turns season around

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Photo credit: Amy Chalan

Recent Dartmouth graduate and soccer player Sherine Collins joined the Hackley community this year as a lower school teaching assistant. She helped the girls soccer team make it to the NYSAIS playoffs. Sherine played defense and forward in college and brought a lot of insight and fun to the team.

By Hadley Chapman, Staff Writer

The Hackley Varsity Girls Soccer team, led by captains Ismene Germanakos, Belle Thomas and Katy Robertson, were looking to push the team into this year’s NYSAIS championship tournament.

 

Head coach Natalie Hopp said, “The team’s motto, ‘FEARLESS,’ appropriately describes their mentality this year.”

 

The team experienced every outcome possible during their season. “Whether positive or negative, the team continues to prove they are not afraid of any of their opponents,” she added.

 

According to Coach Hopp, the team has “seen tremendous growth…from gaining more confidence, increasing skill level, increasing soccer IQ from watching film, becoming physically and mentally stronger, and being able to adapt to changing strategies, and implementing drills from practice into game scenarios.”

 

The team turned their season around from their initial losses against Riverdale and Poly Prep. Midway through the season, the team pulled off wins against those very same teams.

 

Through their hard work throughout the season the girls soccer team hoped to secure their goal of winning NYSAIS.

 

The road to NYSAIS did not appear to be easy at first, especially after graduating 8 seniors — including their starting goalie, key defenders, midfielders, and a forward.

 

In light of these significant losses, through weeks of intense drills, scrimmages, and intense conditioning, new and returning players stepped up to fill the shoes of their former peers.

 

As for the team dynamic, “it is unlike anything that I have ever experienced before,” senior captain Belle Thomas said. “This team was closer than any other team I have been on. We spent a lot of outside of school time together and it showed on the field.”

 

Last year, the team didn’t make it to the NYSAIS championship. Coach Hopp compared last falls’ girls soccer team to the team this year, saying that, “every team has different strengths, but I can say that this group of players continues to amaze me with their level of pride, heart, intensity, and willingness to do everything possible in order to be successful.”

 

The team headed into the tournament with a strong momentum, with a win streak of four games. They placed into the tournament as the number four seed, and they played Dalton on Wednesday, October 31. They won the game with a final score of 2-1.

 

That Friday they took on Trinity at Randall’s Island. After a hard fought game the team lost 3-1. Although the season came to a close with a loss, the team made memories and friendships that will last throughout the rest of the year and high school.

 

“I am 100% proud of us. We really pulled together and managed to beat Dalton out, no matter how hard that game was.” Thomas said. However, “In our last game, we did everything right beforehand, a good warm up and keeping the energy high, but to their credit, Trinity came out really strong and got a couple goals in early.”

 

The team was disappointed after the semi-finals loss. Yet, Thomas says, “overall, I am very proud of our season. We beat every team in the league at least once, except for one team,  and we grew substantially over the course of the season and as a program as a whole.”

 

“This team was something incredibly special and I’m sad to see our time together end,” Thomas said. “Of course we’ll still arrange hangouts throughout the year, but in reality, our time together is over.”