"It's not over till it's over." Waldorf's Varsity Girls Soccer Team took a giant step forward to securing a PSAA playoff spot with a well fought 03-01 win over the Berkeley Carroll School on the Laszlo Jurak Athletic Field.
As the weather took a turn for the worse, Waldorf took a turn for the better and played outstanding defense, thus limitting the opponents chances on a slippery pitch.
Senior goalkeeper Isabella Fraim went the entire game and it took a good shot to beat her for the one goal she gave up. "Fraim's determination and improved decision making has strengthened the team's defensive wall," said Coach LeSueur. "The familiar backline of senior Zoe Bousraou, Carolyn Smalls, Jaclyn Proctor and Anne Flomenhaft have been tested at every game but they are coordinating their challenges and limiting the offensive strengths of the opponents.
"Our team got off to somewhat of a slow start," said LeSueur. "We decided to change up the front line and added our secret weapon - freshman Skyla Davis - to the center forward position. The move paid off within several minutes and Davis streaked in to to meet a left footed cross from junior striker Sofia Trikas and bury it into the back of Berkeley Carroll's net.
Berkeley Carroll answered back with a goal of their own in the second half and the game was tied. Waldorf's usual stellar center midfielder Mikayla Ver Pault took some hard knocks. Coaches Kim and LeSueur needed to replace her in the vital midfield position by moving senior Lexi Van Zant into Ver Pault's position. Van Zant's tenacious attitude and speed locked up the center of the pitch.
Ver Pault, meanwhile, was getting some well-earned rest as the teams battled back and forth. With about 20 minutes left to play, Coaches Kim and LeSueur decided to move Ver Pault up to the forward line with hopes that she could find some space on the left flank. Senior co-captain and left midfielder Katarinal D'Ercole, who put together three outstanding games, won a 50-50 challenge at midfield and sent a beautiful thru pass to Ver Pault. Ver Pault was able to use her strength to shield off the Berkeley Carroll defender and attacked the goal from the left side. As she went in on goal, Ver Pault demonstrated excellent ball skills and composure and slotted the ball past the sprawling Berkeley Carroll goalkeeper.
The team's third and decisive goal was once again created by solid and tenacious defensive work. Van Zant, who was now energized at center midfield, won a strong challenge and played the ball into Berkeley Carroll's scrambling defense. The opponent was unable to get a good clearance and the ball found the right foot of Ver Pault. Ver Pault struck a solid high shot well beyond the hapless Berkeley Carroll goal keeper and Waldorf was up 03-01.
Special mention must be made of Ajanai Miller Randolph's outstanding offensive play and the contributions she is making with her long throw-ins. Junior stopper Jaclyn Proctor was always in the right spot and cleared with her head (or her foot) some troublesome offensive plays by the opponents. Making a real big contribution to the winning effort was freshman defender Julia Gonzalez. She played some of her first significant minutes in this crucial game and she did not disappoint as she shut down the Berkeley Carroll team's right wing with some strong tackles and great positioning. Freshman Skyla Davis improves with every game and her ability to flick on headers and distribute excellent through balls has Waldorf firing on additional cylinders. Junior strikers Trikas and Paone, although they did not score, are putting in a tremendous work rate with quality runs and skill work that usually draws double teams and frees up our other onrushing players.