By Will LeBlond
A powerhouse has been growing for the girls soccer team in Trumansburg, and they’re ready to stop being the team on the outside looking in at a Section IV championship.
Last year it was a quarterfinal loss to Unatego on penalty kicks that stopped their advancement; two years ago, perennial power Elmira-Notre Dame was a 2-0 roadblock in the semifinal round.
With a large senior class that has been so close to claiming a trophy, the dialogue is different this season with the Blue Raiders – and it’s championship or bust for coach Scott Stewart’s team.
“We’ve been together since we were very young,” said senior forward Taylor Miller. “Since we were six or seven.”
The senior class led the team to a 8-0-1 start entering game action on September 23, with their only tie coming to rival Lansing. Seniors Miller and Hannah Morpurgo have been the driving force offensively, with Miller’s 10 goals and Morpurgo’s five. Meanwhile, senior defender Tess Parker and senior goalkeeper Maddie Mikula make up a T’burg backline that yielded just seven goals through their first nine games.
Even with plenty of established players on the roster heading into the season, there wasn’t much complacency with the veterans.
“We both emphasized that nobody has a starting position this year,” said Stewart on the philosophy that he and his assistant coach Colleen Robinson developed to begin the year. “The freshmen that came in are more than willing to put the hard work in, and the seniors are leading that group and a lot of the freshmen are already contributing.”
The freshmen class, which includes seven players, makes for a nice balance of youth and experience for the Blue Raiders and everyone has been contributing. Going into their game on September 19 against Moravia, which turned out to be a 7-0 rout, the team had 11 different players with at least one goal.
The tone was set early this season for the team, as they wasted no time in jumping into preseason training.
“They came to preseason already conditioned,” said Stewart. “That helped quite a bit and we were able to jump right into working on tactics.”
With the hot start now in the rearview mirror, the focus is staring to shift towards more stiff IAC competition to close out the season. The Blue Raiders still have to take on traditional powers Dryden (September 29 at home) and Lansing (October 3 on the road) before they can think about postseason play.
The nine seniors hope that those matchups will just be stops on the road to a title this season. With time winding down on their high school soccer careers, they can’t just get close anymore.
“I think we’re really just ready to go far because we’ve been working together for all these years,” said Miller. “We really want to make that worth something.”