Friar soccer powered by talent, depth

Fifteen players back from 2018 sectional finalist squad

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Melvin Tate

Contributing Reporter

With 15 players returning from last season's team which finished 14-4-4 and lost to eventual Class 2A champion St. Francis in a sectional final, Fenwick appears poised to have a highly successful 2019 campaign. And according to head coach Rob Watson and star midfielder Annisa Nourse, the elements needed in order to make such a season a reality are in place.

"We're focused on improving every day and staying healthy," Watson said. "We're off to a good start, but we just try to focus on getting better each day. We're not going to look ahead or behind. I'm very happy with our kids because they're not only working hard, but they're smart. They're doing everything right on and off the field."

"We've had two tough losses [a pair of 1-0 decisions] that easily could've been wins," Nourse added. "Those were hard for us, but we're just getting started. We're just taking each game at a time."

Another reason for optimism regarding Fenwick is depth. Nourse is the Friars' top returning scorer having tallied 16 goals and 11 assists in 2018 while meriting all-Girls Catholic Athletic Conference and all-sectional honors. Senior co-captain and defender Regan Hultquist was also named to the all-GCAC team. Senior co-captain and defender Margaux Shearer, along with juniors Sheila Hogan and Lily Reardon (3 goals, 4 assists in just seven games in 2018), lend additional veteran leadership.

"The discipline of our team is very intense," Shearer said. "I think our team's strengths are communicating and making decisions as one unit. The coaches have installed a love for the game within us."

There are also several promising players on the roster, including junior defender Jacqueline McMahon, sophomores Emi Kapusta, Juliana Giuffre, Courtney Youngerman, Grace McCann and freshmen Kate and Emily Ortiz.

"Our strength is depth," Watson said. "We have 28 players on the roster. What we will work on is maintaining our health, improving our fitness level, coming together as a team and improving each day. Chemistry and communication are vital to our success."

The Friars will face serious challengers in the GCAC Red. Loyola, Mother McAuley and St. Ignatius are all perennially strong teams that will vie for the title along with Fenwick.

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