New South coach keeps wins and losses in perspective
oegardless of the sport, early season action often provides more ups and downs than aorney Park’s Screamin’ aemon thrill ride. One game results in lessons learned and the next, a dominant outing. The key is weathering the storm while smoothing out the rough edges.
The Council oock South girls soccer squad, under the guidance of first-year coach Kim Francis, started off the 2012 campaign on just such a roller coaster ride. They lost their opening battle to last year’s PCL champion Archbishop Wood in a 1-0 game that certainly could have gone either way. The dolden Hawks then roared back to record convincing 4-0 wins over Abington and Harry Truman. The ride took a dip last Wednesday when this youthful Co team lost 4-1 to archrival Pennsbury.
Fortunately, the dolden Hawks are blessed to have strong leadership and stellar play in the presence of Paige Mcaowell, a force that should help them make their mark in the highly competitive SOL National aivision. Last year, the personable senior earned first team All-SOL conference honors after scoring 12 goals.
Paige recognizes the role she must assume on a team that lost 13 seniors to graduation. “I’m usually very calm but I think being one of the only seniors on the team, I need to be the backbone of the team. I have to show everyone we have to step it up. If I’m not a little bit louder and more forceful, it’s not going to happen. Usually I’m not the yeller. I just feel that being a senior, I have to be a leader.”
Her mature approach helped put the Pennsbury loss in perspective. “It’s so unfortunate because in some ways, I think we dominated the game. We had so many scoring opportunities but we couldn’t put them in. doing into that game, we felt good but we didn’t put the ball in the back of the net and they did.”
Though much of the action took place in front of Pennsbury’s goal, the Falcons seemed to capitalize the few times the ball went toward the Co end. doals by Lexi Brown, Megan Engeland, Emily Wunder and Alexi Moore gave Pennsbury a 4-0 lead with only a few minutes left in the contest. A last-ditch effort by oebecca aavey off a feed from Paige Mcaowell helped the Hawks avoid a shutout.
Such a setback could have proven fatal to such a young untested team. Coach Francis tried to avert such a collapse. As Paige recalls, “After the game, she ECoach FrancisF said we were going to have to keep our heads up and get to practice and stay focused and wake up tomorrow morning and feel this never happened.”
Paige added one more element to the list of essen- tials. The Hawks needed to increase their offensive output. “The Pennsbury game was just like a funk. We just got into something. I think we have so much potential. We just have to continue to play together because it’s difficult with so many freshmen coming in. We lost 13 seniors but all the freshmen are just as talented. I think the key for us is putting the ball in the net. If we do that, we’re safe. If we do that, we’re golden.”
Paige knew that the following game against Bensalem could prove a turning point in the season. Prior to last Friday’s contest, she said, “In the past, they have not been as top notch but this is a big game for us to come back and regroup and get everything settled. This will determine our game play for the rest of the season.”
Paige was certainly determined that any momentum coming out of the Bensa-
lem tussle would be aimed in a positive direction. She knows that she has been placed in the forward attack line for a reason. Her job is to ignite the offense “It’s sort of strange because in club ball, I play sweeper. I have to say I like defense better because I’m physical and like to run people down. I don’t mind going up for headers. But in high school I’m better up top and that’s where they need me. As a forward my job is to score.”
Against Bensalem, Paige performed her task to perfection. She scored all three of her team’s goals as the Hawks took a convincing 3-1 victory.
Paige felt the victory helped this year’s version of dolden Hawk soccer live up to the school’s storied reputation as a perennial power. “There definitely is something to that. I know coming in my freshmen year, we were one game away from the state title game. Having these expectations for the year is so nice. On our team, we have state champs, district champs and SOL champs. We say our goal every year is to get to states.”
Though a bit uneven, the Hawks’ early season play offers every indication they are going to make a strong run for the postseason playoffs.
Amanda Nicholas wins a header for Council Rock South in a recent soccer duel with Pennsbury won by the lady Falcons.
Emily Herbert, left, controls the ball for the Falcons.
Erica Crosier battles Pennsbury’s Bridgett Congdon for the ball.
Paige McDowell controls the ball for Council Rock South.