With Sidwell Friends coming off its first District of Columbia State Athletic Association girls’ soccer championship, Coach Ryan Alexander is preparing his players for their new reality
Remember all the hard work you put in to be successful, he advised them, because there is going to be a target on the team during the 2019 season.
Alexander coached a young roster to a 18-1-1 record last fall, blowing past teams such as Bishop O’Connell, St. James and Episcopal.
“Maybe at the beginning of the season last year, some people were a little bit surprised at our success,” said Alexander, the reigning All-Met Coach of the Year, whose team had eight underclassmen. “Then kind of midway through the season, that had changed. But this year, there’s going to be no surprises, even from the beginning of the season.”
The Quakers will have the majority of its roster from last year, with sophomore forward Kiki Rice leading the charge. The only freshman on last year’s All-Met first team, Rice scored 42 goals while adding 12 assists. She started this year strong with a hat trick in a 4-0 win against Bishop O’Connell.
The Quakers have a new goalkeeper this year in freshman Helen Primis. Alexander and the rest of the team were “pleasantly surprised” by her performance heading into the season, and she has posted two shutouts already.
With an experienced group in front of her, it should allow for Primis to come into her own and learn at a better pace.
“Our hope is that the experience in the rest of the group will help acclimate her into the high school game,” Alexander said.
The Quakers have a mix of veterans and underclassmen, which Alexander attributes to last year’s success. In addition to the underclassman starters they had on the team during the championship run, the team also has some experienced seniors like Charlotte Wolfe and Alison Jones who are four-year players.
To Alexander, there’s “nothing like” having a good blend of youth and experience, and with Walt Whitman – a team that advanced to the 4A Maryland state championship last year – coming to their field Wednesday, the squad will have an early test to show what it can be.
“It’s very important, because through the course of the season, you’re going to need that depth,” Alexander said. “Someone’s going to have an off day or something is going to happen.”
1. Sidwell Friends (2-0) LR: 4
Midfielder Gemma Maltby is back as the Quakers make the push for back-to-back DCSAA championships.
2. Spalding (1-0) LR: 2
The Cavaliers lost to McDonogh in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A final last year, but they’re off to a strong start in 2019 with a 2-1 win over Paul VI.
3. Good Counsel (1-1) LR: 1
The Falcons beat St. John’s in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship last year and traded the top spot with Spalding for most of last season, but they started this year off with a 3-0 loss to McDonogh in the Sept. 3 opener.
4. Whitman (0-0) LR: 6
Coach Greg Herbert enters his 15th season with the Vikings and has seven returners from last year’s group, which made a Maryland 4A championship appearance.
5. River Hill (0-0) LR: 3
Coach Brian Song has an experienced group looking to grab its fourth-straight Maryland 2A championship.
6. Severna Park (0-0) LR:7
The team’s playoff run ended in the Maryland 4A semifinals to Whitman last year, but it has a core group of seniors back, including goalkeeper Katie Byrd and forward Maddie Altman.
7. Calvert High school (3-0) LR: NR
Co-captain forwards London Lewis and Alexandra Baker look to lead the Cavaliers to another playoff appearance. The team has already beaten Bishop O’Connell and St. Mary’s Ryken.
8. Quince Orchard (0-0) LR: 9
The Cougars started their year strong with a 5-0 win against Damascus fueled by a shutout performance from senior goalkeeper Katie Orr.
9. Wilde Lake (0-0) LR: 10
The Wildcats are hoping to have a repeat of their playoff season in 2018, starting with a conference matchup against Howard on Thursday.
10. Georgetown Visitation (0-0) LR: NR
The Cubs ended last year on the bubble after an overtime loss to Sidwell Friends. Coach Carey Burke feels good about a team that returns seven starters.
On the bubble: Huntingtown, Northern, McDonough