The 2023 girls' soccer team at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy is proving to be a work in progress, with a lot of young talent.
The 2023 girls' soccer team at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy is proving to be a work in progress, being a squad with a lot of young talent but lacking the experience of the 2022 team, with its 13 seniors.
In the second week of October, the Blue Devils recorded a significant non-league victory and then began the second round of games within the Inter-Ac League.
Berwyn's Conestoga High School was the only team to defeat SCH last season, on a day when the Devils were missing one of their most talented and versatile players, senior Mary Trudeau. This fall, the Pioneers were undefeated at 13-0 when they arrived in Chestnut Hill last Tuesday.
Neither squad scored in the first half, then SCH went up 2-0 in the contest with a pair of goals by freshman Deus Stanislaus before Conestoga broke the shutout for a 2-1 final.
At the end of the week, Stanislaus would head out to Portland, Oregon to train with the Youth National program; she is one of 24 players on the U.S. Under-15 Team.
The high level of intensity the Blue Devils mustered up for the Conestoga game could not be maintained in their next contest, a rematch with a Baldwin School team that SCH had defeated 8-0 back in the Inter-Ac League opener. The host Bears were able to keep Springside off the board until
the second half. SCH scored three times after that, and Baldwin put in the last goal of the afternoon for a 3-1 outcome.
In the first set of six Inter-Ac games, the Blue Devils had emerged with a 4-2 record. They fell 2-0 to an Episcopal Academy franchise favored to win the title this fall, and lost 1-0 to rapidly improving Agnes Irwin.
Against Baldwin on Friday, SCH controlled the ball much of the time, although the Bears did a pretty good job of fronting the SCH players and of booting the ball upfield when they got the chance.
About 15 minutes into the action, the visitors had three corner kicks in a row. They couldn't get off a solid shot on the first two, and on the third the ball went from the left side to beyond the right post, where it was booted into the outside of the net on the near side.
Near the middle of the period freshman Cali Smith had a shot from the middle of the box knocked down by Baldwin goalie Anna Magarelli, and with a dozen minutes remaining a ball launched by Stanislaus skipped into the hands of the Bears' keeper.
Another ninth-grader, Ryleigh Bakley, had a shot on the ground stopped, and in the final minute of the first half, an attempt by Stanislaus missed the top right corner.
In a strong performance, Magarelli would log a total of 15 saves, thought to be a school record by Baldwin head coach Adrian Cox.
The Bears' netminder was under attack again as soon as play resumed after halftime. Stanislaus had a near miss at the right post, and on an outside shot by senior Abby Udowenko the ball was tipped up over the crossbar by Magarelli.
Brynn Donohue, one of Springside's senior captains, was enjoying the game from a unique perspective. Since suffering a concussion several games earlier, she'd been observing her team from the bench.
"Being on the sideline, it's amazing to see all the things you don't notice while you're on the field," she said. "Mainly, there's the connecting on the field. When you're playing, you don't really see how the ball goes from one side of the field to the other, how it goes through so many people."
Donohue has also gotten a different look at the contributions made by the most recent additions to the team; there are two new sophomores and eight freshmen on the 2023 roster.
"It's amazing to see the way they've stepped up," she remarked.
After the first 10 minutes of the second half had gone by at Baldwin, the Blue Devils scored their first goal and then the eventual game winner in close succession. The visitors erased the zero from their side of the scoreboard with 29:58 left on the clock, when a corner kick from the left sent the ball outside of the far post. It was knocked back into the middle, and after a little scramble in front with touches by several players, SCH sophomore Jill Major put the ball away.
At 28:16 the count rose to 2-0. Smith dribbled the ball down near the left endline and angled a shot across. Baldwin's Magarelli deflected the ball but it bounced loose near the right side of the goal and Stanislaus stuffed it in. The third SCH goal went in with 14:51 left to play, when Smith scored on an outside shot from the left.
Baldwin freshman Makena Lee found the SCH net with 10:21 remaining, locking in the 3-1 final.