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Walonis, Walpole girls soccer ready up

By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor

In 2020, Walpole High School girls varsity soccer had all the makings of a state-championship-caliber team. Unfortunately, COVID had other plans. While a condensed 10-game season was still able to be had, the multitude of rule changes and no state tournament made last fall far from a normal experience. 

Despite all the uncertainty and change, the Walpole girls proved to be a force. By the season’s end, Walpole was the unquestioned alpha of the Bay State Conference with a final record of 9-0-1 record. In 2021, Walpole girls soccer will look to continue where they left off last fall. This time around, however, they’ll get a shot at competing for a spot in the postseason and the ultimate goal of winning the state championship. 

Leading Walpole this season will be four senior co-captains: Bay State Conference All-Star goalie Catie Powderly, midfielder Sophie St. George, midfielder Kathryn Maclean and defender Ella Thomson. Two more notable impact players returning for Walpole are reigning conference all-stars Brooke Walonis and Jess Welch. 

“The whole team is beyond excited for this season,” said Walonis when asked about her team’s general mood entering the fall. “Being together without masks has been awesome and we are all looking forward to starting the school year together and hopefully having a full season. Soccer season is always such a fun time and a great group of girls, so we all know it will be an awesome fall.”

Chemistry is a big part of any team. With so many starters from last season back for Walpole, Walonis believes that she and her teammates will be able to use their familiarity with one another to their advantage.

“Last year we had a really good season during COVID, finishing our 10 conference games undefeated [at 9-0-1],” said Walonis. “This year we all are hoping to compete in the state tournament and hopefully be really successful. There are a bunch of starters returning so it will be nice to still be playing with a bunch of people that we are already comfortable with. I think that will work in our advantage this season.”

As far as training and preparation for the season, Walonis recently made a significant change to her methods. A multi-sport star on the school’s girls soccer and basketball teams, Walonis opted to focus on soccer this past summer instead of playing AAU basketball. 

“So, after last fall season I decided to put a pause on AAU basketball and go back to playing club soccer. I left in seventh grade originally to focus on basketball. It was definitely a hard decision but I realized that soccer was what I wanted to pursue and had to go with my gut. This summer has been super important for recruiting with COVID restrictions finally opening up. June and July were especially crazy with traveling all over the place for nationals and showcases and clinics but come August, everything has settled down in time for high school to start back up. While I have spent a lot more time on the soccer field there has also been a ton of preseason prep for basketball, with morning workouts multiple times a week and summer league, which has been a blast … I can’t wait for the winter season.”

Walpole will open up the 2021 season with a non-conference matchup on the road at Foxboro on Friday, September 10 at 3:45 p.m. 

For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.

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