Varsity girls soccer team kicks it up a notch to Class 4 districts


Pete Ferretti

In a soccer game against Nerinx hall, senior Ashton Manwill goes up for a head ball off a corner kick. The girls varsity soccer team beat Nerinx Hall 2-1. “I was really excited because in all my years of playing Nerinx it was the first time we have ever beat them, which was just the best feeling,” Manwill said.

Competition emerged for the girl’s soccer team as they are now competing with schools as large as 2,223 students in Class 4 district from Class 3.

“Historically, all of the Rockwood schools are larger than Parkway Schools and it could be upwards of a thousand more kids than ours,” varsity soccer coach Annie Wayland said.

According to Marquette soccer coach Christopher Kenny, upwards of 70 athletes try out every year, for their three teams, and end up cutting 10-15 athletes.

“This allows these schools to be picky about who they pick for their teams. This is certainly going to be beneficial for them, but I think we have a lot of talent as well despite the fact that we are smaller,” Wayland said.

Winning districts last year and moving into state, Wayland believes Eureka is going to be tough competition.

“They are notoriously strong on the ball, dynamic and I think we are going to be able to compete with them, but we are going to need to do what I know we are capable of doing and play a good strong game,” Wayland said. “We will have to capitalize on our opportunities and, even though they are stronger, I think we bring a lot to the table. I think we are going to be good competition for all of those teams, but I certainly think it is going to be a battle for anybody to win that district.”

Senior captain Bella Hatzigeorgiou believes her team is going to need to prepare for every game like they are playing one of the tough district teams.

“We are going to need to work really hard in practice by always working our hardest to try and get better every day. We also need work really hard when we play really hard teams by always encouraging each other and having a positive mindset. Other teams that we play that are notoriously as good as the teams we play in districts are Webster and Nerinx. We just need to practice really hard and treat every game like we are playing those teams,” Hatzigeorgiou said.

It has been 27 years since the girls won districts.

“We need to play to our strengths and find ways to strategize, continue to develop our skill set, work the ball around the way we know we are capable of and to maintain a strong defense. There’s no special recipe but bringing the strongest team to the playing field. We need to do our research, as well and check them out during the season, and see what we are up against. I think our strategy is going to be bringing the best version of ourselves to the field,” Wayland said.

On the pre-season surveys, 90% of the team members put winning districts as their goal.

“We battle and we have really good records. We win tournaments and things like that, but I think that tangible goal has always been to win districts. It is on everyone’s mind, right now it certainly keeps them focused to achieve that in the future,” Wayland said.

Hatzigeorgiou reminds her team that they need to have a positive attitude because she knows from years past that anything can happen.

“Last year we beat Westminster in the regular season when we were not expecting to win at all, but we worked together and had a positive mindset going into the game,” Hatzigeorgiou said. “We worked toward a goal that we all wanted to achieve.”