Windermere Prep girls soccer dominates

After winning the SSAC state title last year, the Lakers are making another strong run through the regular season.

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  • | 10:55 a.m. January 15, 2020
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Every time the Windermere Prep girls soccer team takes to the field, it’s there to win in convincing fashion.

The Lakers have had a knack for mercy ruling other teams for years now, and this year is no exception.

But this year, the Lakers are dominating despite the fact that the team is young.

Last season when Windermere Prep stormed its way to an SSAC state title, the Lakers had plenty of senior talent to help lead the way. Now those seven seniors — which included some of the team’s top talent — are gone, and it’s up to new players to continue the legacy that head coach Greg Stone has built.

“We lost a lot of seniors last year that were starters, so we were hoping more people would come in, step up and do their job, and that’s what has happened,” junior center midfielder Isabel Teixeira said. “I think we may have four seniors and three or four juniors, so it’s really impressive how the younger players stepped up.”

With a team that now has a few middle schoolers seeing some playing time, there were questions coming into the season, but there also was the chance to really surprise people, freshman center midfielder Brielyn Knowles said.

“Since we’re such a young team I feel like teams don’t think we’re going to do as well because we have such young players, but I feel like we work so hard because we want to win,” Knowles said. “I feel like we all take it pretty seriously. … I think our drive to win (separates) us from other teams.”

Despite early season jitters — which Knowles admitted came with losing players while also living up to high expectations — the Lakers have jumped out to a 10-1 record so far. The Lakers’ lone loss came against a talented Holy Trinity Episcopal team.

For Stone, the approach to the season was different than last year, but it’s not his first rodeo when dealing with inexperience.

“With the team being young, we are constantly talking about mentally preparing, focusing and a lot of things that young players — with a lack of leadership — might not exactly know how to do,” Stone said. “It’s teaching them the skills it takes to be a leader, to get mentally focused and ready to play.”

Whatever Stone has said to his players, it’s working — the Lakers jumped right out of the gate with a seven-game winning streak to start the season. During that stretch, the Lakers’ defense — which had been basically depleted —  recorded six shutouts, while the offense outscored opponents 37-1.

That’s all thanks to several players like Knowles and sophomore midfielder Courtney Mogauro — who led the team last year in scoring.

The talent has been tremendous, but it’s also helped that this year’s team is made up of easily coachable girls, Stone said. 

“I think it starts with practice — giving 100% and playing hard and intense in practice,” Stone said. “Then it leads to how we are doing in games — if we are behind, how are we going to react? Are we going to come back and score, or are we going to fold and give up three more goals?”

The importance of practice has spread throughout the team itself — just ask Teixeira, who is hoping to play soccer at the next level.

“Every time I go to practice, I learn more about myself and the team and soccer itself,” Teixeira said. “I’m looking to learn more and improve every day.”

As it stands now, Windermere Prep has only a few games left in the regular season before the playoffs start up, where the Lakers will look to repeat as champions.

But in order to do that, Stone knows that his Lakers will have to win as a cohesive squad. In other words, “teamwork makes the dream work,” as the saying goes.

“We talk about that we are one — we are one unit playing together and if one person has a bad game, we have to pick that person up,” Stone said. “We go as our team goes. ‘Earn everything,’ to me, is the biggest thing right now and our motto of this year.”


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