Minutes after 2:15 p.m. when Girls’ Varsity Soccer (GVS) lined up on the turf to face Philips Exeter Academy, Forward Sam Suplee ’22 earned the knights a 1–0 lead with a powerful shot from behind the penalty arc that sent Exeter’s goalie jumping skyward, stretching up diagonally for the ball. Under clear skies and in the presence of an eager Homecoming crowd, it flew deep into the left of the net.
“There was excitement in the air, and our first and early goal really set the tone for the rest of the game,” GVS Head Coach Graeme Blackman ’10 said.
As the girls gained momentum from the opening goal and kept Exeter’s defense busy, the crowd and its reactions grew, with students in spirit gear streaming in from the football game and a few parents loudly disagreeing with the occasional foul call from the referees.
Players said that by the second half, the home crowd was easily three times its usual size, with 70 or more parents, young children, students, teachers, administrators, friends from outside of school, and athletes appearing from other Homecoming games.
The knights went on to score three more goals, another by Sam and two more from Meredith McDermott and Peyton Rollins (both ’22). Meanwhile, goalkeepers Nora Ryan ’21, who played most of the game, and Sabrina Pforzheimer ’19, who played the final 15 minutes, kept a clean sheet against their opponents.
At the end of the 80-minute game when the final whistle blew, the scoreboard read 4–0 and more than a dozen members of the football team, who had changed out of their uniforms from their earlier victory, streamed onto the field to congratulate the players.
Players were as pleased with their sweeping win as they were to see so many supporters in the crowd, Co- Captain and Centerback Maya Mangiafico ’20 said.
“I definitely wasn’t expecting such a crowd,” Maya said. “The turnout was great. Having everyone on the sideline cheering us on definitely helped to keep our intensity high.”
Forward Sara Bauman ’20 gave a shout-out to Sam for creating over five scoring opportunities for herself and for finding success on two of them.
“She really showed herself as an aggressive forward this match, along with the rest of the team,” Sara said.
Coach Blackman said that the girls had been working on passing patterns to replicate match situations in practices leading up to the big game.
“The work the squad has put in showed during this match,” he said. “They were able to find many openings and opportunities from their good movement.”
Co-Captain and Forward Giovanna Cima ’19 agreed.
“Graeme spent weeks pushing us to open up our back foot and to improve the speed and agility of our play,” she said. “We were finally able to demonstrate the work we’ve put in during long practice sessions in a match.”
Midfielder Lucy Foot ’20 said the team has built a strong team culture that will be important for their upcoming performances.
“As long as we continue to hold each other accountable and challenge one another, we’ll find good results waiting for us in future matches,” she said.
As of October 14, GVS had logged a record of 8–1, having lost only to Nobles.