Girls Soccer Builds Strong Defense, Dynamic


Casey Stover

Senior defender Mariah Jackson lunges towards the ball at a March 28 game against Belleville East.

Caspar Dowdy, Editor-in-chief

It’s natural skills. Or maybe it’s years of experience. Actually, it might be the team dynamic, the way the players get along with each other.

Whatever it is, it seems to be working for the girls soccer team, with only five goals crossing their net in the season so far.

According to head coach Abby Federmann, much of the success is owed to a sense of mutual respect among the team. To keep everyone working in one direction, they’ve focused on building connections on the field.

“We started off this season with a little mantra of ‘Only positivity’ because we wanted this to be a fun, creative environment that soccer should be,” Federmann said. “Leaving the egos aside, understanding people make mistakes, building each other up before you break them down.”

Having a strong group of upperclassmen in the back line means that the team comes to each game bringing years of experience, but it also means that with time, players will go on to new things and college commitments and the dynamic will have to adapt. But it won’t have to be rebuilt completely — it’ll grow with the youngest players on the team.

“We’ve got freshmen sprinkled in with veteran seniors and you wouldn’t know the difference if you walked up to one of them versus the other one,” Federmann said. “They would both speak of the other with the utmost respect.”

For new teammates, those relationships can provide an opportunity to be supported while growing their talents.

“Coming in as a freshman I honestly didn’t know what to expect,” freshman defender Anna Maxim said. “I had heard so many different perspectives that made it hard to get a feel for the EHS soccer team, but ever since I started playing I have loved it. All of the girls have been great to me.”

The underclassmen aren’t alone in having to face new things, though, as the team tries to evolve its formation on the field.

“…we’ve pretty much re-learned how to mark and play on the outside. It’s led the outside players to get up and gain more assists and get a lot more crosses off,” senior goalkeeper Lainey Wiegers said.

Adapting the new strategies and mindsets to the field, according to Federmann, requires the team to stay consistent. During challenging moments — a tough practice or a game against a school rival — she stressed the importance of sticking to what has brought them success.

“We believe in ourselves so much that the way we do things is going to be successful as long as we keep doing it,” Federmann said.

A test came on April 13, when the Tigers played O’Fallon, the only team that’s been able to crack their defense all season. Though the night ended in Edwardsville’s second loss, the players are going forward with hope for their next games.

“We really just have to use our words with each other and tell everyone that mess ups are okay and a mistake isn’t a defining moment…” Wiegers said. “After a rough patch we will say it’s okay and move on, get some sleep and re-group the next day.”

As the season goes on and the school year reaches its end, the team will have more chances to demonstrate what they’ve built, and the example that will remain after they’ve left the field.

“I feel that our team gets along very well and we all have a mutual goal for the season, making us play our best,” Maxim said. “I can’t wait for what is to come next for our team.”