By Corbin Blumberg
On Friday, November 2, The Bullis varsity girls soccer team played St. Andrews Episcopal School in the first round of the ISL “A” division tournament. The two schools clashed earlier in the year and Bullis was victorious, winning 2-0. Bullis jumped out to an early lead after Julia Cogdell (‘15) buried a shot in the back of the net. With three minutes remaining Bullis had the lead, but after a crushing late goal by St. Andrews, the game headed to overtime.
Due to Hurricane Sandy, the girls’ game versus Holy Child was cancelled, but the catch was that the game would decide the regular season title. Bullis had a 4-0-1 record in the ISL “A” Division heading into the game. The game was rescheduled to after the tournament, so although the girls’ hopes of winning a league and tournament title were over, a banner was still theirs for the taking if they could defeat Holy Child. Captain Nikki Rabovsky (’13) said:
“Losing to St. Andrews was heartbreaking, but we knew what we had to do to beat Holy Child and win a banner.” The highly anticipated contest was played at 4:30 at Bullis and drew a large crowd from both sides.
After a hotly contested but scoreless first half, the first goal was finally scored shortly after the second half whistle blew. Emily Renkey (‘15) netted the goal, which was assisted by Megan Wetzel (‘15). Once the lead was theirs, it was time for Bullis to rely on its defense, which is anchored by their senior captains: goalie Dana Daniels (‘13) and Rabovsky. Holy Child tried to find its way through the Bullis defense but came up empty each time.
With the team just moments away from the ISL title, Rabovsky said it felt like time was standing still.
“The last two minutes felt like they would never end. I could not wait to hear the whistle.” Once the game did end to the relief of the girls, the implications were far greater than just a win. The girls clinched the ISL “A” division banner, which means that next year they are headed to the “AA” division, which is the more elite and competitive division in the ISL. Daniels, who is headed to Cornell University to continue her soccer career said:
“This is a huge accomplishment for the team as well as for the program.” Making their victory even more impressive was the fact that they were led by a first year coach, David Wood. Daniels was very impressed with Wood’s ability as a coach:
“For him to be able to pull a very young team together and come out on top of the standings shows a lot of potential for the program for years to come,” she said. The team should be able to continue its success with many of its players being under-classmen, including five freshmen.
Daniels and Rabovsky have each been on the team for four years, and both were proud of the legacy they left. Daniels said:
“My four years at Bullis have been amazing. My freshman year, my goal was to finish at the top at the end of the season and get a banner. After being with the team for four years, Bullis has received two trophies and a banner. I accomplished my goal, and I couldn't have done it without my teammates. The people I've met through playing high school soccer are amazing and made the season even better! I could not have asked for a better four years with the varsity girls soccer team.”
Rabovsky seconded that sentiment:
“The Bullis soccer program means so much to me. Being a part of this program has been one of the most memorable experiences in all my years here at Bullis. I've been a part of it since sixth grade and have had the opportunity to have been coached by three different coaches and play with many different girls. I've created a special bond with so many of my teammates, and I cannot imagine my Bullis experience without soccer in it.”
The presence of the seniors will be missed but the legacy they left will be strongly felt, especially with the division change next year. The girls varsity soccer team finished their season by accomplishing their goal: winning a banner.
Images courtesy of Kia Saint-Louis