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Vol. LXV, No. 41
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
BOOTING UP: Hun School girls soccer goalie Lexi Golestani boots the ball up the field last week in Huns 0-0 tie with powerful Pennington. Senior star and tri-captain Golestani made 10 saves in earning the shutout. Hun, which edged Lawrenceville 2-1 last Friday to improve to 6-0-2, hosts Blair Academy on October 15.
As Lexi Golestani held the fort in goal for the Hun School girls soccer team against powerful Pennington last week, she looked to her left arm for inspiration.
Her left forearm contained a paragraph-long message printed neatly in magic marker.
It was from Anson Dorrance [legendary University of North Carolina womens soccer coach] about the winning mentality, desire and indomitable will, explained Golestani.
It says you can have all the talent, tactics, and skill but if you dont have that desire as a team, you are not going to achieve anything.
The star senior goalie and tri-captain showed plenty of will and desire against Pennington, making 10 saves as Hun battled the perennial state Prep A champions to a 0-0 stalemate, leaving both teams undefeated on the season.
In reflecting on her superb performance in shutting the door on the eight-time prep champs, Golestani credited technique and desire.
I have a lot of good training, said Golestani. I am playing for the FC Bucks club and it is a great experience playing at that level. I am more confident and a lot less mavericky coming out of the goal. I have the technique down and its more the heart and who wants it more. Today, I wanted it more.
In Golestanis view, the Raiders wanted it collectively as they looked to avoid another loss at the hands of a Pennington program that has dominated them in recent years.
Of all the four years, this has to be the team with the most heart, asserted Golestani, a four-year starter for the Raiders who will be playing for the Providence College womens team next year.
We have had a lot of individual talent in the past years but this is the team that plays together the most.
The defense played well together in front of Golestani, sparked by a trio of seniors, Nicole Campellone, Phoebe Huang, and Nicole Shockley.
I am so happy to have them in front of me, said Golestani, noting that freshmen Ashley Maziarz and Jess Sacco have also bolstered the Hun defense.
Colie [Nicole Campellone] has been with me all four years. Phoebe [Huang] and [Nicole] Shockley are really stepping it up. I couldnt ask for better teammates and classmates to share it with.
The outspoken Golestani shares her thoughts during games, providing a pointed commentary of instructions for her teammates.
It has been a long road; it is one of the things I am working on, said Golestani, referring to her in-game communication. It is one of the things that my college coach really likes. I couldnt do my job without having a good defense and one that listens to me.
Golestani and fellow senior captains Campellone and Holly Hargreaves have been listening a lot to each other, getting together to discuss team matters.
We have been working since the end of the season last year; we have had meetings every week just talking about this team and this season, said Golestani.
I havent finished my senior year yet but I could tell you that my greatest memory is being on this team.
Hun head coach Ken Stevenson will certainly have fond memories of the way his team fought perennial power Pennington tooth and nail for 100 minutes.
They definitely had more shots than we did but we were able to contest and battle with a team of that caliber for an extended period of time, said Stevenson.
It is one thing to play them even for a half which was pretty exciting but to then sustain that through the second half and another 20 minutes in overtime, it is a great statement from this team about their level of commitment to playing the game.
In Stevensons view, that commitment started with the defense for Hun. How can you not be amazed at the game Lexi Golestani plays, said Stevenson.
She was coming out of the net; she had a couple of body blocks and a couple of great saves. Campellone was good. Everyone on the back played really, really well. Phoebe played well as did Shockley in her quiet, reserved way. Sacco is one of those kids I can put in a couple of different places where I need somebody who is calm, tough.
Hun showed plenty of toughness against Pennington, keeping the pressure on as several Raiders played through the pain of heat cramps and hard knocks.
It goes back to commitment, are they willing to keep playing hard when they are cramping, said Stevenson, whose team played hard last Friday, edging Lawrenceville 2-1 in moving to 6-0-2. To see that today against an obviously really good team was just tremendous.
The result against Pennington showed that Hun could produce a tremendous season if it keeps up that hard effort.
What I said to them afterward is that the
challenge now is to finish and it is not just to finish by putting the ball in the net, it is finishing the season, said Stevenson, whose team hosts Blair Academy on October 15.
We are halfway through, we are having a great season but it would be easy to take our foot off the gas.
Golestani, for her part, isnt about to take the pedal off the metal.
It is the middle of the season but it is a good start, said Golestani.
We are looking forward to making it even better. I think this was our first real test. We were thinking we are good but how good are we and I think we definitely proved what we wanted to today. High school sports is really about playing as a team and the bonds you make. Today was a good bond.
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