Making connections and connecting passes: New captains lead JV girls soccer team

The+JV+girls+soccer+team+during+halftime+of+their+home+game+on+March+11%2C+2021+against+Brunswick.+

courtesy of Chris Nolan

The JV girls soccer team during halftime of their home game on March 11, 2021 against Brunswick.

by Alyssa Pizer and Chloe Little

As the players warm up, the stands begin to fill to a lesser capacity than all are used to. Led by their three captains: Alex Stuart, Anessa Davy, and Alyssa Pizer, the girls JV soccer team is reaching their goals.

Captains Alex Stuart, Anessa Davy, and Alyssa Pizer ready for practice!

On March 11, the JV team played their first game against Middletown High School, one of their biggest competitors. Middletown and Oakdale have a tradition of strong women’s soccer teams.

The game ended tied 0-0, with the JV defense strong.  The new freshmen players who have considerable club experience, are giving the team an energy injections.

“Ava Taylor and Cailin Spelman are both incredibly fast, and they always have the ball, ” said Pizer, proudly.

JV will play Middletown again on March 30, and they spent time reviewing how to dominate by working on weaknesses they found in this first game.

The team then had a home game on March 16 against Brunswick High School. They won 4-0. Alyssa Pizer, Ava Taylor, Promise Green, and Cailin Spelman scored in the game. This win is one of many signals of the team gelling together under the leadership of the three captains.

Even with this win, they are still working hard to fix small weaknesses and things they can work on in the future. 

Freshman Emily Purgason was out with an injury, but once she got back into Game 3 against Urbana, the team dominated even more. The Urbana game was also a shut-out.

Coach Hannah Flemming chose the captains not only based on the examples they were already setting during practices, but by what each of the players on the team saw. She decided to ask the team who they would individually nominate to be captain.

All we can do is go into each game wanting to play FOR each other. As long as my girls are synced up and feeling good we will always have a great game!”

— Coach Hannah

I’m very happy with the captains chosen. I had asked every player to send me a text with one player’s name they believed was a “leader” to them and why. It was more of the players that chose their captains. So I guess the question is, is the team happy with their decision,” said Coach Hannah. 

Stuart, Davy, and Pizer all have different outlooks, insight, and strengths when it comes to leadership of the team.

Coach Hannah said, “I think the three captains all have different strengths. Alex is very vocal and can see the field from a different perspective. Anessa’s bond with her teammates is very important. There always needs to be open communication between captains and the teammates to have a successful team. Alyssa’s drive to always want to push her teammates to their full potential is critical especially during those long hard tough games when it’s tied and it’s easy to let your body slow down. That’s where the captains see the breakdown and boost morale, getting everyone’s energy going.

Stuart, Davy, and Pizer have in a way, their own “zones.”

We lead the warm-ups. Alex is the main voice between all of us as the goalie. Alyssa mainly controls the offense and where they are supposed to be, and I control the defense,” said Davy.

To have three people lead a team requires a lot of communication. Stuart, Davy, and Pizer all have been working together throughout the season to communicate not only with each other, but with the team. 

Stuart said, “I plan to really make sure all of us captains are communicating through this process and making this team stronger and have a family environment with everyone.

“A captain needs to be the leader for the team, someone who will take charge out on the field, and has communication with everyone on the team,” said Coach Hannah.

There is also a fun side of this process. Since the captains are all good friends, it makes the job a lot easier. 

I was actually very fortunate to be picked with two of my closest friends, I am so happy I get to share this experience with them and we work really well together. We almost always have the same thoughts about things and how to lead the team and things we should work on, so I think we work very well together,” Pizer said. 

I was thinking of them throughout the season, and I was thinking of  Alyssa and Anessa and it turns out that’s what happened. Both players showed up as freshmen and were already leaders in different ways and I am proud to see that they stepped up and did just that this year, ” Coach Amy Rosensteel said. 

“These problems are much different than last season’s, because last year we got the chance to really get to know each other with no restrictions and it helped us bond more as a team,” said Shannan Nolan. 

She projected how it would be more difficult this year, and how well the captains are handling it especially with such little time to prepare. 

Bonding is extremely important to help the team work well together on and off the field. 

“I think this year our team has bonded really well together, and, although we’re still working on really working together, I think we have a lot of potential, ” said  sophomore Kaileigh St. Louis.