Girls soccer wins tournament, making Townsend Harris history

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Girls soccer team celebrates their first place finish with pizza. Photo taken <br /><figcaption id=Photo by Dina Goodger

On Saturday, September 21, the girls soccer team participated in the Charles F. Zink Jr. Memorial Soccer tournament at Forest Hills High School, playing a total of 4 teams and going undefeated in every game to win first place at this annual tournament, something that the girls soccer team has never been done before in Townsend history. Not only did the girls win the tournament, but senior captain Olivia McFadden and sophomore goalie Hallee Pell Browne also received individual trophies for their performances, the all-star and most valuable player awards respectively.

“Receiving all-star of the tournament was actually really unexpected because I witnessed so much talent today, [both] from my own team to every other team we played, but it really made me smile to realize that I could possibly be as good as the players I versed today,” said Olivia.

Hallee also expressed her disbelief and excitement at this achievement, “Winning MVP as a sophomore is amazing. I couldn’t believe it, to be honest; I was so happy. Once we won our last game, the girls picked me up and started chanting my name. It was just amazing.”

The girls soccer team attends this tournament annually. Besides the opportunity to practice their soccer skills against other opponents, the tournament gave the team a chance to get closer and bond. Olivia said, “This year surpassed any other year. Having so much free time between games is wonderful bonding time and this year the team really used it to our advantage—laughing, dancing, and singing together. The bond we formed off the field today …brought us to victory.”

In their first game, Townsend Harris squared off against Forest Hills High School, where Olivia, junior Paula Fraczek, and senior Nicole Bielecki scored to get their team’s first win, ending the game with a final score of 3 to 0 for THHS. The second game was against Beach Channel High School, and juniors Yessica Escorza and Paula scored the team’s only two goals for Townsend’s second win. In the third game against Queens High School of Teaching, Nicole scored the team’s only point and they beat QHST 1 to 0. Hallee, the team’s goalkeeper, kept a clean sheet, and didn’t allow any goals. The last and final game to win it all was against High School of Arts and Business, where it came down to penalty kicks, best out of three.

Dina Goodger, Nicole, and Olivia were chosen by the coach to take the penalty kicks. Dina and Nicole made the first two penalty kicks, and then it was the other team’s turn to take two penalty kicks.. Hallee, who basically held the fate of her team in her hands, allowed two penalty kicks to go in, but made an amazing save on the last one.

“The most challenging moment of the game was probably the final shootout against [High School for] Arts and Business. I panic during one on one plays, but I was not going to let them win after everything my girls went through,” said Hallee.

Hallee did her job on the defensive side and the score was set 2 to 2 on the penalty kicks, with Olivia taking the final shot of the game. Olivia said, “In all my years of soccer I’ve always dreaded penalties. Just as I went up to take the penalty, the ref placed the ball and said, ‘This is to win it,’ and that put so much pressure on me. Once I went to take the shot, my foot took control and the next thing I knew we had won the tournament.”

Winning the tournament was a huge step towards the team’s playoff goals. Paula said, “Our biggest rival is probably Bayside. I think that the tournament gave us more confidence and brought us closer as a team and that’s what we need in order to beat any strong opponent.

The team’s next game will be on Tuesday, September 24, at Francis Lewis High School, where they hope to use Saturday’s momentum to get another league win.