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GIRLS SOCCER: Inter-Ac Back in Full Swing, Jam-Packed with Talent Across the Board

By Cole Nowak Photos/Videos: Cole Nowak, Dan McCarty, Lennie Malmgren & Nick Schreder, 09/27/21, 3:30PM EDT


Photos/Videos: Cole Nowak, Lennie Malmgren, Nick Schreder & Dan McCarty

By: Cole Nowak

PHILADELPHIA- A new season calls for new beginnings, but more importantly new opportunities. That is what the seven squads from the Inter-Ac have laid out in front of them this season. So, who will come out on top?

Let’s get into this…

Agnes Irwin School

2021 Record: (2-2 overall, 1-1 league)

What to expect:

The Owls are led on the back end by junior goalkeeper Morgan O’Donnell. She provides a steady foundation that will aid the Owls in keeping conference foes off the scoresheet. Players to also keep an eye out for this season on this Owls team include Sydney Wilson, Carly Wilson, Belle Fusco, and Emma Twitmyer. They look to dominate the time of possession category this season, while staying competitive in every competition this upcoming season.

Words from the team:

“I think it was really big for us to get the clean sheet, it was definitely something that gives us a lot of confidence heading into the season. We did what we do in practice, and it feels rewarding seeing what we do works,” said senior midfielder Belle Fusco after their first league win against Germantown Academy on Sept. 14.

“I was just telling my girls before the game that I believe the Inter-Ac will be really competitive this season, there is going to be a lot of teams at similar ability level,” said Agnes Irwin head coach Mike Welsh. “We have quite a technical team this season, so our possessions got a lot better. We are trying to put the final piece together right now, we are not scoring as many goals as I would like us to, but I would definitely say our strength is possession."

AIS captains Sydney Wilson, Carly Wilson, Belle Fusco & Emma Twitmyer talk about their initial Inter-Ac win vs. GA & team strengths:

AIS head coach Mike Welsh discusses what will constitute a great season for the Owls:

Baldwin School

2021 Record: (4-3 overall, 0-1 league)

What to expect:

This 2021 edition of the Baldwin Polar Bears are coming off a stint with no games played due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Regardless, they are locked in and ready to go this year. The Polar Bear offensive attack is going to give opposing defenders problems all season long. Baldwin is led upfront by senior captains Clara Page and Josie Stockett. The Polar Bears really look to lean on team culture this season to maintain great team chemistry that will transfer to team success on the pitch.

Words from the team:

We are going to be highly organized, fit and disciplined. Our attack has the potential to be very dangerous with multiple players capable of beating defenders off the dribble and putting the ball in the back of the net. Our midfield and defense must play quick and simple and limit turnovers in critical areas of the field. Lastly, we have the potential to be a lethal counter attacking team and also a threat on all set pieces. It is going to be fun to watch how this group improves and grows together from the non-league to league games and then postseason,” said Baldwin head coach Adrian Cox.

“I think it feels great to be back, being around our teammates again. Everyone is looking forward to this season at Baldwin, we have just been happy since the beginning of preseason,” said Page.

“We have been really excited, and our energy has been amazing. We are just really excited to be back out here again. It feels really nice to all be together,” added Stockett.



Episcopal Academy

2021 Record: (6-0 overall, 1-0 league)

What to expect: Head coach Andrew Fraggos is entering his 6th season at the helm of Episcopal Academy and looking to lead his squad to an Inter-ac championship. The Churchwomen look to rely on their extensive depth this season in addition to keeping a positive attitude and competing while having fun doing it. EA will look to find the perfect mesh of key varsity returners with added help from top newcomers.

Top returners (noted by Coach Fraggos):

Kendal Elison- Senior-Captain, Elison brings four years of varsity experience and will find herself involved in many of EA’s goals this year.

Bella Piselli - Senior-Captain, Forward - Creative attacking player with the potential to score in many different ways. Piselli also brings four years of varsity experience.

Maya Naimoli- Junior, Goalkeeper - Although Maya tied the team for most goals as a freshman, she will spend the season in her true position, between the posts. Naimoli is a dynamic goalkeeper who can organize the backline, comfortably possess through the back, and make big saves. Announced as pre-season All-Philly Metro team by PrepSoccer.

Natalie Magnotta- Sophomore, Center-back - Natalie anchored the Episcopal backline as a freshman. She's proven to be a top-level player and will see plenty of success for us this year.

Top newcomers (noted by Coach Fraggos):

Quinn Whitaker- Freshman, Midfielder - Quinn has shown she can excel in many different positions - dangerous in attack and solid in defense. It will be tough to take her off the field this year.

Maya Bright- Freshman, Forward - Maya will be a dangerous threat on attack. Kicking off her EA soccer career with a game-winning goal in opening game of the season.

Avery Le- Freshman, Forward/Defender - Very versatile player who will see minutes up top and in the back.

Germantown Academy

2021 Record: (3-2 overall, 0-2 league)

What to expect:

GA looks to build brick by brick this season and continue to grow as the season progresses. The Lady Patriots look to keep a high intensity game-in and game-out, while competing for the full 80 minutes. This team is happy to be back after a season lost to COVID-19, but ultimately want to be successful in the win-loss column. GA is led by a talented group of seniors in captains: Alex Goodridge, Cailin Hasson, Lilly Funk, Caitlin Boland-Szura, and Heidi Cross.

Words from the team:

It is really exciting; it feels really good to be back as a team. It feels a lot more normal than last year,” said Goodridge.

“We want to make the best of our senior season and have fun while doing it,” mentioned Boland-Szura.

“It feels like coming back home, this is our family, and we are all finally back together,” added Hasson.

“I loved our intensity and competed for the full 80 minutes of the game. We played really well defensively and made one mistake in the box early, when we stepped and got beat. I thought we did a nice job stringing some passes together. That’s one of the kickers about this game, sometimes you don’t find the back of the net,” said GA head coach Christopher Nelson addressing the 2-0 loss to AIS in Inter-Ac opener.

GA Captains Heidi Cross, Alex Goodridge, Cailin Hasson, Lilly Funk & Caitlin Boland-Szura say they are happy to be back on the field with their family:

GA head coach Christopher Nelson thought his team fought defensively & was pleased in first game vs. AIS:

Notre Dame

2021 record: (6-0-1 overall, 1-0 league)

What to expect:

The Academy of Notre Dame de Namur is looking to make some noise from the jump this season. After coming off a frustrating season with only six games played, ND looks to count on both a mix of young and veteran talent. This is the first time in program history when all rostered players have competed in club soccer in addition to their fall season at ND.

The players to keep an eye out for this season are Julia Rossi Sr., Caeli Maher Sr., Audrey Cain Jr., Abby Reger So., and Brianna Young So.

ND senior Julia Rossi said coming away undefeated in their non-league schedule gave the Irish a lot of confidence:

Words From the team:

“We have a really good group this year, we defiantly had some good underclassmen come in in addition to the older girls. I think one of our strengths and something to looking forward to will be our attacking,” said Rossi. “Every game we learn to get better as a group, we are a really tight group.”

“We instill in our players sportsmanship fair play and competitiveness in everything they do as they represent the school and their community,” said coach Bill Bradley when asked about the values instilled in this ND team.

Penn Charter

2021 record: (2-2 league, 1-1 league)

What to expect:

Talented seniors on the offensive and defensive side of the ball is what has been aiding in William Penn Charter’s balance so far this season. The Quakers kicked off Inter-Ac play with a 4-2 victory against Baldwin on Tuesday, Sept. 21.

Penn Charter’s offensive attack has been led by senior Lauren Anderson, who tallied two goals in their opening game against Pennington School and another two goals in their league opener against the Polar Bears. Senior midfielders Maddie Shoup and Kayla Bradby also found the net this season, with Bradby’s coming off a penalty kick in a non-league 3-2 loss to Archbishop Ryan, a standout in the Philadelphia Catholic league, earlier in September.

Other players to watch are sophomore Gia McCusker, who also has two goals on the season, and junior Dani Shipon, a track and field standout who added a goal in the Quaker’s victory vs. Baldwin.

Penn Charter senior Lauren Anderson was excited to kick-off league play with a win:

Words from the team:

“It was really exciting to have our first Inter-Ac game and get a win,” said Anderson.

"We are very excited to return and hopefully have a normal season . Our team appreciates every second we have on the field together, we were only able to play 3 games last year,” said Penn Charter interim head coach Ashley Maher. “As coaches, we emphasize the importance of hard work and accountability. We believe these qualities will help them excel on and off the field.”

“Our senior mid-field, are tough seasoned vets in Kaila Rahn, Maddie Shoup and Kayla Bradby anchoring down the center of the field for us. We will be utilizing senior Lauren Anderson’s speed, as a forward up top, until Charlotte Hodgson recovers from ankle sprain. Eighth grader Cassidy McCusker plays outside back, she is going to be exciting to watch over the next few years . She brings the toughness and tenacity that we need,” added Maher.

Springside Chestnut Hill Academy

2021 record: (6-0 overall, 2-0 league)

What to expect:

Either alphabetically it worked out perfectly or I saved the best for last because entering this 2021 season Springside Chestnut Hill are the favorite to bring home the Inter-ac hardware. The Blue Devils are equipped with a lethal offensive attack that will pour on goals at will if they get rolling. The Blue Devils have yet to lose an Inter-Ac game over two seasons and look to continue that trend. Everyone is gunning for them, but they relish the opportunity.

Words from the team:

“I knew coming into the season I was a senior and going to be the oldest, I really wanted to work on my leadership. As a captain this year, that is one of things I have improved on. As well as Lauren Sullivan and Olivia Myers. We all really worked on our leadership this summer and it is really showing as we lead our team in hopes to win a state championship,” said Syracuse commit and 2021 HS All-American Watchlist nominee Maya McDermott.

“After the shortened season last year, the girls are ecstatic to be back to defend their Inter-Ac title from 2019 and compete for a State Championship. This talent within this group of 23 players is something special. Every single player is out there making each other better by being tough, competitive and focused during training. It is a great mix of some players who have been playing in the league for a few years to others who may be new to the varsity level. After not having a real season last year the girls are ready to compete with their friends in a fun and talented Inter-Ac League,” said SCH head coach Maria Kosmin.

SCH captain Maya McDermott worked on her leadership skills coming into the season:

SCh head coach Maria Kosmin talks about the Blue Devils' model of consistency:

2021 Inter-Ac results:

Sept. 14th

Agnes Irwin 2, Germantown Academy 0

Sept. 21st

Penn Charter 4, Baldwin 2

Germantown Academy 0, Episcopal Academy 4

Sept. 22nd

Springside Chestnut Hill 6, Agnes Irwin 2

Sept 24th

Springside Chestnut Hill Academy 5, Penn Charter 0

Notre Dame 2, Baldwin 1 OT

Upcoming fixtures:

Tuesday, Sept 28th

Springside Chestnut Hill Academy @ Germantown Academy 4:00pm

Episcopal Academy @ Baldwin 4:00pm

Notre Dame @ Agnes Irwin 4:00pm

Thursday, Sept 30th

Springside Chestnut Hill Academy @ Episcopal Academy 4:00pm

Friday, Oct 1st

Notre Dame @ Penn Charter 4:00pm