Varsity Girls Share High Hopes for Homecoming

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Nicole DeCesare

Shyla Fernandes ’25 races for the ball.

Coming off of a season so far with two wins, three losses, and one tie, the Varsity Girls Soccer Team enters Homecoming with momentum from a two-game win streak they accrued last week.

“Our season so far has had its ups and downs,” Team Captain Leni Hicks-Dutt ‘23 said. “We have tied and lost some games, but we won both games we had last week. Our season and skills have definitely been improving and I think there’s a lot more progress we will make this season.”

The team enters the competition against the Rocky Hill School, a new opponent for the girls’ soccer team.

“I think the team is excited but nervous for the homecoming game,” Hicks-Dutt said. “This will be our first time playing Rocky Hill for Homecoming, so everyone is eager to know how they play. 

Head Coach Mallorie Nai echoe Hicks-Dutt’s sentiment with excited anticipation for the event.

“I’m really excited about [Homecoming],” Nai said. “I think Homecoming’s always a really fun community event so there’s a lot of excitement around the day, especially with the turnout.”

Nai gave her thoughts on the team’s chemistry and their goals going into Homecoming.

“I think the team feels very prepared and excited,” Nai said. “We are on a three-game winning streak, so we have positive momentum going into a Saturday game like Homecoming.”

For younger team and school members, Nai said that Homecoming represents a new experience to learn the ropes and play in front of the community. 

“As an athlete, it can be really hard to play in front of friends and family,” Nai said. “For a lot of our players it will be their first Homecoming, so working on the mental side of things for Saturday, like staying focused and composed, while also having fun playing in front of a crowd.” 

Athlete Shyla Fernandez ‘25, who has only played in one previous Homecoming game, is excited for the match.

“Homecoming is always a fun experience for everyone,” Fernandez said. “Since the veterans are older and bigger, they may get more playing time, but everyone’s playing and it is an awesome experience to be with everyone at the school and play.”

However, for more experienced players, Homecoming signifies the culmination of all their years on the team, and it is one of the final opportunities they have to play for the School.

“I think this Homecoming is bittersweet,” Team Captain Emma Guevara ‘23 said. “I think it is a big tradition and I have always been excited to play, but it’s going to be a little sad that its going to be my last Homecoming game. It’s going to be super fun, especially since we’re playing a new team, but at the end of it I’m gonna be a little emotional.”

While athletes anticipate the upcoming game in different ways, they all resound the same universal feeling about the atmosphere of playing at Homecoming.

“I would say my favorite part of homecoming is the sense of community with everyone,” Hicks-Dutt said. “Watching sports, eating good food, and hanging out with friends I think is the best way to come together and be a part of a community.”

“The Homecoming vibe is great,” Guevara said. “A lot of alumni come, including my siblings, and they go to cheer me on. It’s just a lot of good vibes with the food and the traditions our team has, like having breakfast together and applying facepaint before the game.”

For Nai, Homecoming offers a way to show off the team’s work this season.

“It should be a really competitive game, so we’re excited to compete and showcase what we’ve been doing,” Nai said.