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Girls soccer team fights back against losing streak

Head+coach+Lennart+Bitter+instructs+the+girls+during+half+time+of+a+recent+contest.
Head coach Lennart Bitter instructs the girls during half time of a recent contest.

Head coach Lennart Bitter instructs the girls during half time of a recent contest.

by Julia Spano

by Julia Spano

Head coach Lennart Bitter instructs the girls during half time of a recent contest.

Julia Spano, World news editor

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Despite their record of zero wins, eight losses, and two ties, the Hillsborough girl’s soccer team continues to exhibit boundless tenacity and strong defensive maneuvers, which is helping them begin to turn their season around; this ultimately started with the win against the Immaculata girls in the first round of the country tournament.

“It’s been pretty rough,” Kim Bandola, mother of senior goalkeeper Olivia Bandola, said in the stands. “(But) at least we won the game against Immaculata, so we’re going to the second round (of the county tournament).”

The team has had a consistently difficult track record, with more losses than wins last season as well as this season. At Tuesday’s game against North Hunterdon, the atmosphere was tense due to an injury to senior Erin Washbourn and some controversial calls from the referee, driving the crowd to hysterics. But all was not hopeless as freshman Sarah Wnowrowski managed to score a goal in the second half of the game, battling bravely against North Hunterdon’s Jessica Franklin and her two goals and aggressive offense.

“We have the potential to fight and win games,” junior goalkeeper Jillian Stanton said. “It’s just a matter of us actually being able to stay strong on defense, connect the final pass on offense, and finish our shots.”

Hillsborough is the strongest on the defensive side of the ball. Goalkeeper Bandola has tallied a total of fifty-six saves this year alone, ranking her fifth among the twenty-one goalies in the Somerset league.

“It’s no lie that being a goalie demands a lot of responsibility, but this challenge is what first drew me to the position,” Bandola said. “I think what keeps our spirits up are the friendships that we have formed on the team. Whether we are on the field or in school, it is easy always to cheer each other up.”

The team is about two-thirds of the way through the season, with only six more games until they reach the playoffs. Stanton remains positive.

“Being positive is important for everyone on the field,” Stanton said. “Usually, when one person gets frustrated, it messes with their game and also makes everyone else frustrated.”

And what keeps her positive? The small victories the team achieves.

“We finally got our first win against Immaculata,” Stanton said. “The team played hard during the entire regulation time, where we ended in a 2-2 tie. However, there has to be a winner during tournament matches, so we went into overtime… The team wanted to win so badly, and we were so close! We then went into penalty kicks and won 3-0. It was such a great moment.”

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Girls soccer team fights back against losing streak