St. Anne’s-Belfield’s girls soccer squad has some key parts back, but the absence of a few graduates certainly made things feel different for those key players.
“After our scrimmage with Charlottesville everyone was saying it’s so different out there,” said STAB coach Mark O’Donnell. “And I was like you’ve played together for the last three years with the same people but yes it’s different and it just takes time. I’m excited for this season.”
Clearly they’re starting to find that comfort again as the Saints coasted past Tandem Friends 8-0 Tuesday evening. The Saints, the defending VISAA Division I champions, found a groove early against a Quakers squad that’s sorting through some injuries.
Eight different Saints scored on the night with Taylor Anne Barry triggering the offense with three assists to go with her goal. Barry, who led the Saints in scoring as a junior during that state title run gives the Saints a rock to build around at the top of the formation. Beyond that though a number of players are taking on expanded or completely altered roles, and watching them adjust and emerge has been an exciting process for O’Donnell.
“Sometimes it’s really frustrating and sometimes I wish it would happen faster but it’s a process,” O’Donnell said with a laugh. “It’s a lot of fund and their great kids, it’s nice to see them grow up.”
A little further behind Barry, Madi Mazzola steps into the central midfield role vacated by current William and Mary starter Haley Kent. Mazzola was on point against the Quakers and scored once on the night, and she should bring a dynamic presence in that spot.
“Madi has to be kind of the straw that stirs the drink — she’s going to have to really step up,” O’Donnell said. “Madi has her own gifts and she just has to realize that she has to be Madi and not try to be Haley.”
Gillian Borton, Bettina Abboud, Sierra Reyes, Penny Shuster, Sophia Hunt and Sophia Rhafri also scored with Abboud and Emily Trebour notching assists. STAB’s freshman keeper Jasmine Furin had one save on the night as she steps in to replace multi-year starter Lauren Gammper in the net.
The Saints will face Norfolk Academy Friday at 4 p.m. at home.