Waldorf's Varsity Girls Soccer Team, currently in fourth place in the PSAA league, played the Portledge School this past Friday. Portledge is currently tied with Staten Island Academy for second place in the PSAA rankings.
In the first half, the Waldorf goal came from a nice play by senior co-captain and left halfback Katarina D'Ercole who, after winning a strong challenge for the ball, hit a strong thru ball across the field where junior striker Sofia Trikas darted in from the opposite side. Trikas collected the ball and hit a low line drive to the opposite corner. Portledge also scored a goal in the first half and the teams went into half-time with the score standing at one goal apiece.
"Waldorf has shown tremendous improvement as the season has progressed," said Coach LeSueur, "but Portledge was able to find their rhythm and were rewarded for their efforts when they were able to convert two additional goals and take a 01-03 lead with about twenty minutes left to play.
"As the team had discussed at their pre-game chalk talk," said LeSueur, "if we found ourselves trailing, we would change our system of play from a 1-4-4-2 to a more offensive system of 1-3-4-3 in the hopes of making a comeback."
Waldorf's determined team started winning the 50-50 challenges as senior wing fullbacks Zoe Bousraou and Anne Flomenhaft started winning the ball on the flanks and kept supplying the offense with many more challenges. The junior striker tandem of Marianna Paone and Sofia Trikas, who had worked so hard throughout the game, started to wear down Portledge's defensive fullbacks. The result was that Portledge gave up numerous throw-ins and corner kicks which gave the Waldorf players the momentum needed. Junior midfielder Ajanai Miller Randolph was outstanding as her long throw-ins from either side of the field kept Portledge on their heels.
With about 15 minutes to play, senior captain and sweeper back Carolyn Smalls found Marianna Paone with a terrific thru ball and Paone struck it well to bring Waldorf to within a goal. Coaches Kim and LeSueur then made the move that the team was prepared to handle. Smalls, our outstanding sweeper back, was then asked to go up front and use her speed and quickness to put Portledge under even greater pressure. "These moves are always somewhat of a gamble," said LeSueur, "but we needed to gain some points from this game. A loss is a loss and equals 0 points."
Said LeSueur, "This strategy put a lot of pressure on our senior goalkeeper, Isabella Fraim, who had played brilliantly even though we had let up three goals." Waldorf replaced Smalls in the defensive wall with sophomore standout Mikayla Ver Pault to play the sweeper back position and moved senior Lexi Van Zant to partner up with junior stopper Jaclyn Proctor.
"The three of them bent on some occasions but did not break and it was their tenacious play that got us the third goal we needed," said Coach LeSueur.
Miller Randolph took the throw-in from about 25 yards out and with some great offensive runs by D'Ercole, Paone and Trikas, the Portledge defense was in shambles. Portledge could not get a good clearing kick and the ball was deflected to Carolyn Smalls who was able to turn and strike a low driven ball into the back of the net.
It was a team victory of sorts against the previously undefeated Portledge women and Waldorf cannot forget the contributions made by Waldorf's substitute players who gave our starters some well earned rest as the game progressed. Said Coach LeSueur, "We tip our hats to junior defender Sarah Schweizer, freshman defender Nyatasha Jackowicz and midfielder Skyla Davis. All three are contributing so much needed energy and talent to the team."
The Waldorf supporters were ecstatic and the Waldorf players celebrated this come-from-behind experience as the clock ran down to have the game end in a 3-3 tie. Waldorf salvaged the point needed for the vital playoff spot. Portledge is ahead of Waldorf in the standings but with the tie and with a game remaining against Portledge on Wednesday, October 17th, Waldorf can move up in the standings.