Bounce Back Season for SLS Girls Varsity Soccer

With the fall season in full swing, the St. Luke’s Girls Varsity Soccer Team has four wins and one upsetting loss behind them. 

On September 23, the soccer team traveled to Sacred Heart for a game on the opponent’s home field. Unfortunately, the St. Luke’s team walked away with their first loss of the season. This loss was especially hard for the team veterans who became FAA champions last year. Yet, the team seems to be moving on and turning to this loss as motivation. 

One of the team captain’s, Lea Panagiotidis ‘20, said, “Starting the season off 2-0, this loss did hit us hard as a team, but our main goal is to bounce back and to not let this game affect our efforts throughout the rest of the season.” 

Though many of the players believe there were some other factors at play, including the grass field, a few sick teammates and groggy weather, the consensus is that Sacred Heart was, according to Panagiotidis, the “same team as last year but they came out harder, with more intensity and energy” 

After speaking with all three captains of the team, Julia Lombardo ‘19, Jackie Thompson ‘20 and Lea Panagiotidis ‘20, they can all agree that the Sacred Heart game was a wake up call for the whole team.

In preparation for their upcoming games, Julia Lombardo believes that “the team knows every game needs to be full of energy and intensity in order to score goals and be successful.” 

The unexpected challenge from the opposing team and discouragement stemming from the 0-1 disadvantage, were both mentally and physically draining for the soccer team. 

Lombardo noted,“Being down a goal after a tiring first half was extremely discouraging to a lot of the players. I think once the first goal was scored the work ethic was gone and rather than trying to bounce back, all of our heads went down.”

 The team’s coach, Dan Clarke, believes that the loss was a minor set-back which could potentially end up benefiting the team. “I think we could have handled that adversity [the goal] better than what we actually did. Rather than regrouping and finding a way back into the game, our response was not what I would hope for, but it’s a great learning experienc,e and I think it will benefit us for the remainder of the season if we find ourselves in a similar situation.” 

Looking forward, all three captains agree to use this loss to motivate them throughout the season and as practice for future games. 

Lombardo adds that for the remainder of the season, the captains will try their best to adjust the mindset of the team. “We can’t go into game assuming how the other team is going to play. We just need to go out there playing our hardest and leaving everything we have on the field.” 

To Clarke, the loss makes no difference. It is the same team with the same talent and potential. “Our goals don’t change. Just because we lost this game doesn’t make us a bad team overnight. We have a ton of talent within the group. We have a long way to go in terms of the season, and I fully expect us to challenge for the FAA title and NEPSAC title.” 

When asked how the team was going to “bounce back,” there was a unanimous response from the players that maximum effort and the drive to win are the most important factors for victory. 

However, Coach Dan belives that the team has already bounced back. “We have had two games since the Sacred Heart game with a very accomplished performance against Wooster, 6-1, with five or six different scorers and won a hard fought battle against Rye on Tuesday. They made it really hard for us, but we responded well this time and really dug deep to grind out a win.” 

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