Seniors signing off for girls soccer

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Seniors Olivia, Athina, and Nicole pose with junior Nicole Gleizer, likely to be next year's captain. Photo courtesy of Nicole Gleizer
Seniors Olivia, Athina, and Nicole pose with junior Nicole Gleizer, likely to be next year’s captain.
Photo courtesy of Nicole Gleizer

On Tuesday, October 22  the girls soccer team finished their last game of the season with a tie against William C. Bryant High School in overtime. For the seniors, it was the last time they would put on their Townsend Harris jersey and cleats to represent the Hawks.

For senior captains Olivia McFadden and Athina Mihalidis, the last game was a bittersweet moment: heartwarming because of how far they’ve come and sad because it represented the end of their four year career in varsity soccer.

Athina said, “I was preparing myself from the night before. Knowing it would be the last game I would ever play in a Townsend uniform made me extremely upset. I started crying that night because as a four year player and two year captain, I grew a bond with the team, the coach, and the game.”

Athina, whose main position is a sweeper on defense, had never scored a goal in her high school soccer career, and hoped to leave with at least one goal in her name. On Tuesday, her wish came true as she scored THHS’s only goal on a corner kick. The team was ecstatic, cheering their captain on, and eager to win. Bryant scored one goal as well and the game went into overtime, tied 1-1. In overtime, neither team scored and the game ended in a tie. While not the win the team hoped for, it was a well-fought game nonetheless.

Olivia said, “Although, I was sad at the end of the game, I realized how happy I was that I got to experience such an amazing 4 seasons with such wonderful girls who supported me through every 80 minute game, good or bad.”

The end of the game was very emotional for the team and a lot of tears were shed, recalling good memories and predicting what the future might hold for the team. The underclassmen stated that they “had big shoes to fill,” but Athina disagreed saying, “I think they will step up and continue to play their hearts out as they did the past season. They will excel and do great. I have no doubt.”

Olivia agreed with her co-captain, saying, “In the past when I was an underclassman, losing seniors seemed like the end of the team’s success. However, every year the girls soccer team has stood up and improved, and I have no doubt that the current underclassman on the team will continue to fill the seniors’ shoes, especially with the dedication I’ve seen in them. It’s the most dedication I’ve seen in players since I’ve started.”

Sophomore Kristine Guillaume agreed that the level of dedication and intensity has increased saying, “This season was definitely more demanding than the last; the whole team felt this way especially since PSAL put us in a bigger division with more games to play. This season was certainly tougher than the last. We lost a lot of games and faced challenging opponents that we could have beaten, but didn’t.”

Although the team didn’t make playoffs this year, they did gain something perhaps more special. Kristine said, “Through it all I feel like we got a lot closer. We really bonded at the tournament where we won first and I just had a lot of fun. That’s the thing about our team – we stick together through the highs and lows.”

Olivia, who ranked within the top 30 soccer players in PSAL and provided the most scoring for the team, Athina, whose presence could be felt from the field all the way to the bench and who was vital to the team’s defense, senior Nicole Bielecki, who helped run the ball from the midfield and whose soccer IQ contributed to the team’s success, and all the other seniors of the team whose presence impacted the team either on or off the field will be missed greatly by both the underclassmen and Coach Sioukas.