Small soccer team overcomes injuries, size to take state championship
With only a few practices and a small roster troubled by injuries, one girls soccer team managed to best 160 others to claim the title of state champions.
The special achievement was the focus of a celebration on September 9, honoring members of the spring Dartmouth Youth Soccer Association U14 girls’ soccer team with cake, commemorative jackets, and citations from State Representative Chris Markey for their Massachusetts Tournament of Champions win.
“These girls play with their heart and for each other,” said Head Coach Michelle “Missy” Gioiosa.
It was a big milestone for the team, which features many players who have been playing soccer together since they were in the second grade.
“It’s the unity of the girls, the fact that they’ve been together for so long,” said Assistant Coach Lee Cojocaru. “They’re friends. I’d say that makes us special.”
However, as Gioiosa explained, new players were an integral part of the team, too.
“The players who joined us this year stepped right in and completed our puzzle,” Gioiosa said, emphasizing the girls’ variety of talents that made them work so well together.
The members of the team clearly have a great deal of affection for one another.
“We’re all pretty much sisters,” said Sophia Gioiosa, echoing a common sentiment.
Lauren Sentra said her teammates are always there to help each other out and better their game, stepping in if a mistake is made and coming up with ways to improve instead of getting mad.
Teammates noted they faced some challenges throughout the season, including a small team of only 13 players and many injuries. They also only had two practices throughout the regular season. Nevertheless, they kept going, and only let in four goals throughout the whole season.
“We all really love each other,” Courtney Cabral said. “We all work so greatly together.”
The team hopes to play together again in the spring.