Coach Danielle Barger wasn’t concerned as much about the record that the Mashpee High School junior varsity girls’ soccer team put up this past year as she was about how the team worked, practiced and improved. A 1-4-1 record for the season only scratches the surface for what the JV Falcons were all about.
“Considering how young a team we were, I think we did very well. We were playing teams that had lots of juniors and sophomores, and we had just two sophomores on the team,” Barger said. “For such a young team, I was happy.”
One of the youngest on the super young squad moved up from the middle school squad to the junior varsity midway through the season and it paid immediate dividends. Seventh grader Mila Pahlais was called “a powerhouse” by her coach, and the first-year JV goalie was great for the team. “She was outstanding, and she was playing with a broken finger,” Barger said. Pahlais helped shore things up for the team and made the second half of the season a better one than the first for the Falcons.
Nora Pasolini, a freshman, started the season in net and did well while in there. She was excited, though, to be able to switch from the primary to the backup goaltender while being able to play in the field the second half of the season.
Coach Barger does not like to play favorites, but her favorite defender—off the field—was one of her best on it. Eighth grader Teah Barger, the coach’s daughter, was solid on the back end all year and used her knowledge of the game and speed to help run things on defense for the MHS JV team.
Maddie Van Huysen, an 8th grader, also was a regular on the back end for MHS. Coach Barger said that despite her small size that Van Huysen was one of the fiercest defenders the team had. “You wouldn’t expect her to be as strong as she is, but she is,” the coach said.
Eighth grader Rachel Fish started a handful of games and also came off the bench for the defense. She was a dependable member of the squad.
Freshman Jayna Merkman was one of the fastest players on the team and saw a lot of defensive time. Hadley Medeiros, a sophomore, used her strength to the team’s advantage. She took the majority of the goal kicks for MHS, and many of the kick-ins.
In the midfield for the young JV squad, freshman Ava Gray was a leader for the team. “She controlled the game. She’s very strong,” coach Barger said.
Co-captain Charlie Jenkins, a freshman, was “as quick as anyone,” Barger said. She used those quick feet to pressure the defense and create havoc.
Eighth grader Emma Kelley finished as the team’s leading scorer for the season. “She can put the ball in the net from most positions on the field,” the coach said. “She’s a goal-scorer, for sure.”
Versatile freshman Abby Stone was one of the top assists-earners on the club. Stone worked hard in the midfield to make things happen, and was a solid two-way player. “The ball did not get by her much,” the coach explained.
Another player who picked up a bunch of assists was 8th grader Lauren Rogers, who saw time at striker. “She was always in the right place at the right time,” coach Barger said. Rogers also put away a couple of goals for the team during the season.
Sophomore Katrina Mayer came off the bench to help on the forward line. A fast and speedy player, Mayer was willing to play any spot that she was needed to play in, Barger said.
Amaya Acevedo-Fraser played about half the season with the Falcons and was named a captain at the start. Though she did not finish the season with the team, Acevedo-Fraser made an impact with her all-around skill when she was with the club early on.