The Seneca Valley girls’ soccer team is making a new name for itself this season.
After a hard-fought scoreless tie against Butler on October 12 to determine their section placement, the girls are now 2nd in the WPIAL AAAA section heading into playoffs. Though these girls make winning look easy, their current position has been very much the product of hard work, determination, and overcoming adversity.
Junior goalie Bella DeFabbo explained the challenges the team faced entering the season: “A lot of people underestimated us this year. We weren’t even ranked in the top 15 teams in the WPIAL at the beginning of the season, and we ended up second in our section, which is one of the most difficult sections in the WPIAL. This year we have a new head coach, new goalie coach, pretty much new everything. The majority of our starting lineup for varsity is new too, so our dynamic as a whole has changed a lot since last season.”
A remarkably young varsity team, the starting lineup is comprised entirely of juniors and several sophomores. Already anticipating next season, junior captain Mary Sinan explained, “The maturity of our team might be considered a weakness by some people, especially because only two starters are returning from last year, including myself. Our entire starting lineup is made up of juniors and a few sophomores. This might be a weakness now, but it’ll definitely be a strength coming into next season, and I think we’ll come out really strong considering our lineup probably won’t change much between this year and next.”
The players cited the high point of their season thus far being their defeat of Pine-Richland in both section games. Pine-Richland was last year’s section leader as well as the current first seed team in the section, so earning a win in both games seemed to be the indicator that the team was performing consistently well. As for the biggest challenge the girls have faced this season, DeFabbo stated, “Butler was a challenge because they were able to match up to us, and Penn-Trafford was a difficult game too, but ultimately I think we’re our own biggest enemy.”
The players’ success has in no way been handed to them. Beginning preseason training the second week of June, the team has only continued to improve its dynamic.
Sinan added, “If we didn’t put in all the time over the summer together as a team, I really don’t think we’d be where we are now. The training has definitely played into our success because Coach Perry was able to understand where to play people and make adjustments for a better lineup. We were more ready for the season to start because of this, and as we continue to play together we continue to get better and better collectively.”
The ladies of the Seneca Valley soccer program continue to exceed expectations and push their limits on the field, and their hard work has been reflected on the scoreboard.