By: Cole Nowak
Bryn Mawr, PA - A team may take the news of all games being cancelled in a season due to the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to dwell, but not so for the Baldwin School's soccer team. Head coach Adrian Cox, who also serves as the school's assistant athletic director, was very pleased with the work his team put in during the 2020 season and is optimistic that it will carry over this year.
“The 2021 edition of Baldwin soccer is poised for a successful season on and off the field. Although we didn't play any games in 2020 due to Covid-19, we were still able to practice and maintain our fun and positive team culture,” said Cox, who is set to begin his seventh year at the helm. “The 2020 experience allowed the coaches to continue to develop players technically and also build mental and physical toughness. We currently have a lot of upperclassmen experience, versatility, creativity and strong leadership. The energy is positive, and we can't wait to start the season and compete in one of the best leagues in the state.”
The Polar Bears are led by senior co-captains Josie Stockett at the midfielder position and forward Clara Page, who is a multifaceted athlete committed to the University of California – Berkeley to play lacrosse. Cox spoke highly about his captains’ leadership and the tandems’ ability to create prime scoring opportunities for the Polar Bears this upcoming season.
“We have a very strong senior class, fortunately four of us are up there together- Callie Stoltz, Brianna Wright, myself, and Josie. We have been working together for four years and the chemistry is really there,” said Page when addressing Baldwins offensive attack.
Transitioning to the defensive side of the ball, the Polar Bears will have a new goalkeeper between the posts this season, junior Megan Adelman. Adelman in her own right is a three-sport athlete, playing basketball and golf in addition to transitioning to the goalkeeper position for 2021 Baldwin squad.
“Adelman, who is new to the position is a very good athlete. She is a basketball player in addition to an elite golfer. She is learning every day at practice and gaining more confidence. She is fearless back there,” said Cox. “Also, leading our back line is sophomore center back in Brenna Ferrara, junior Ana Naylor, and outside back Maddie Davis, who will be instrumental in leading our defense this season.”
Physical skill will not be enough to carry this team alone, team unity is imperative to the ultimate success of this Baldwin team. Cox emphasized his team’s slogan “Claws Up!” and how each letter of the slogan represents a core value of this Polar Bears squad: Commitment, Leadership, Attitude, Win, Sportsmanship, Unity and Pride.
“If I had to pick the two values that the players should focus on the most this fall it would be attitude and unity. We need to maintain our positive attitude all season at practices and games and play with confidence. Additionally, we have a record number of players in the program (45) and we all need to unite and stay together. We must embrace adversity, learn from all experiences and represent the community on and off the field with respect and integrity,” said Cox.
This message has been emphasized to Baldwin’s senior captains all the way down to the freshmen in the program who are kicking off their high school soccer campaigns – an opportunity these captains relish.
“From the beginning, we have done great team bonding exercises. We have made a strong attempt to make the freshmen feel welcome and continue to keep mixing, not keeping freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and senior in separate groups. We continue to mix JV and varsity in order stay connected throughout the program,” said Stockett.
This team is filled with offensive firepower, in conjunction with an intriguing back line. If the Polar Bears can put it all together, this team will not hesitate to make noise in the Inter-Ac this season.