This girls varsity soccer team may be the youngest Westport Middle-High School team ever as the majority of the girls are seventh and eighth graders with just two juniors, three sophomores, a …
This girls varsity soccer team may be the youngest Westport Middle-High School team ever as the majority of the girls are seventh and eighth graders with just two juniors, three sophomores, a freshman and no seniors.
“We are probably the youngest varsity high school team in the state,” said Wildcats head coach Gary Muello who has been coaching the girls for seven years. “We have a great group. “I’m excited that I get the opportunity to coach this group. They are young, energetic and want to learn. They get along extremely well together. This is fun.”
The Wildcats lost to Fairhaven 5-0 during a home game on Friday and are just 1-4 in non-league play, beating South Shore Voc/Tech 1-0 on Sept. 16. The team starts their Mayflower League schedule this week against Holbrook, West Bridgewater and Avon.
“It’s not always the outcome that we want,” said co-captain Korynne Holden, “But it’s a learning year. We have girls that are twelve and girls that are about to be seventeen. It’s a very young team overall. Looking at the games, we are definitely improving as a team.”
Holden and fellow junior Emily Edwards have been thrust into captains roles and are doing a great job setting up and running practices for Coach Muello as well as mentoring the underclassmen. Both girls have been playing varsity since seventh grade for Coach Muello.
“They are quality people,” he said of the captains. “Just nice kids. I couldn’t be more proud of my two captains. They do everything for the team.”
Holden a forward and Edwards a midfielder are currently playing more defensive roles this season due to the lack of size and experience on the team. Holden now plays holding midfielder and Edwards plays at center back.
“It’s a good experience to help with the younger girls and teach them how coach wants us to play,” said Edwards.
“It’s fun to be able to have control, share ideas and run practice,” Holden said. “We’ve had the same routine every soccer season for the last five years.”
The captains see a lot of potential in their young teammates. Seventh grader Vivienne Melo seems to be a natural. “She can play any position that coach puts her in,” said Edwards. “Defense, offense, midfielder, she can really move around.”
Eighth grader Morgan Pacheco and Jacqueline Jusseaume have also impressed the captains.
“They both show a lot of potential and play with a lot of heart, which is something that you really need to play a sport,” said Holden.
Mix and match for better results
All of the girls are learning to play different positions to give Coach Muello more flexibility on the field. Coach wants to be able to mix and match the Wildcats style, position and formation to whoever they are playing.
“I’ll be able to use them wherever and whenever they are needed,” he said. “They will be interchangeable and very versatile which is what we need the younger kids to see. We are a morphing team. Always changing.”
The Wildcats primarily play a 1-4-3-3 with goalkeeper, four defensive backs a holding midfielder, two attacking midfielders and three strikers. “If the girls can learn that now, as they get older, it will become a weapon. That formation can be very challenging for teams to defend.”
The Wildcats play at Holbrook on Tuesday, host West Bridgewater on Thursday and travel to Avon on Friday. All games start at 3:30 p.m.