Year in and year out the Sandwich High School girls’ soccer team is one of the top clubs on Cape Cod. With a competitive season put in by the junior varsity in 2020, it would appear that that trend will continue in the future.
Coach John Simkins’ JV Knights played strongly through the season and posted a winning record. The team finished off at 5-4-1 and played well from start to finish.
“It went well, better than anyone expected,” Simkins said. “We were just happy to get the whole season in.”
Simkins said he was unsure how the year would go with the program losing its freshman and 8th grade team, meaning that 8th graders would play at the JV level for the first time. With four 8th graders making the team the JV team was much younger than usual, but still as competitive as usual.
“Our strength was in the communication on the team,” Simkins said. “That led to a strong defense, and in turn some good chances for the offense.”
The goaltender situation for the JV team saw a pair of youngsters split the time there. Eighth graders Abigail Kinney and Sophia Wanat held down the net. Coach Simkins said the duo would trade off starting and playing the second half each game. Kinney also saw some time at striker during the course of the season and played well there. The pair combined for four shutouts during the season. “They were both very solid goalkeepers for us,” the coach said.
The defense for the team was one of the biggest overall strengths, in part because the team had so much experience there. Sophomore Grace Weiner was a second-year player in the back end and used her speed and all-around strong skill set to bolster the club.
Sydney Sawyer, a junior, was an all-around strong player who was converted to defense after playing the year before as a striker.
Grace Rothera, a sophomore, played with smarts and “did a remarkable job on the back line for us,” the coach said. Paige Burkey, a junior, was one of the squad’s leaders this year, playing center back for the Knights. Simkins said she played “smart and vocal” soccer and was a solid player.
Freshman Ella Raymond was an anchor on the defensive backline for SHS. An experienced player who has played at the club level, Raymond showed a lot of promise for the future. Junior Delaney Nixon was another veteran leader on the squad who played a key role in the back. Her sister, freshman Hadley Nixon, was a “great addition to the team” and a hard worker, the coach said.
Jona Sorant, a sophomore, added depth to the back end. Freshman Bridget Jordan was a very bright player who played some defense and also was a key holding midfielder.
Katelyn Lynch played holding midfield for the Knights this past season as well. A good distributor of the soccer ball, Lynch was strong as a two-way player. Mckenna Clark, a sophomore, was an attacking middie for the Knights. The team’s top goal scorer, Clark used her skills to put the team in strong scoring situations and put away a lot of chances that were created.
Nora Cronin, a sophomore, was an outside midfielder for the JV Knights. She was strong putting the ball across the field with volleys to set up teammates or own shots. She was one of the leading offensive players on the team.
At striker and outside mid, Maddie Keys was also one of the team’s top scorers. With quickness she helped put the team in quality scoring situations. Junior Sarah Kinney played in the midfield as well and was a strong all-around player who added depth to that part of the field.
Sophomore Zoe Richards worked in both the midfield and up front at striker. “She knows where to be and where to put the ball. She’s strong and smart,” coach Simkins said.
Aubrie Schwager, an 8th grader, showed some great qualities for the future. A quality goal scorer, Simkins said Schwager also showed nice leadership for a player so young.
“This was a good season. Everybody had a really good time. There were no frowns. The hardest part was getting used to the masks and getting used to the officials (calls),” Simkins said.