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Large senior class keyed Lady Eagle soccer

Eight GHS seniors will be missed

Gilford’s Sidney Stevens put together an impressive senior season for the Eagles this fall. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
November 14, 2011
GILFORD – The senior class brought plenty of intangibles to the table for the Gilford High School girls' soccer team this fall, as an eight-member Class of 2012 helped lead the Golden Eagles to a 6-8-4 record.

"It was a good group of seniors to have coming in for my first year," said GHS coach Becky Zumbach.

Sweeper Megan Pleeter and outside defender Sidney Stevens led the contingent of seniors, with Pleeter recognized as an Honorable Mention All-State performer. The duo paced a defense that had three shutouts in the team's final six regular season games, a 2-1-3 span against some of the top teams in Division III.

"I can't even count the number of times she hit the ground and bounced back up…she didn't want to come off the field," said Zumbach of Pleeter. "She would give anything to keep the other team from scoring and that's exactly what we needed. We had high hopes at the beginning of the season and she fulfilled them for us. She was a good leader back there."

Stevens started the year as an outside midfielder but a chance substitution showed off her skills defensively, and she turned into a shutdown fullback during the stretch run.

"We kind of discovered she was just as good, if not better, as a defender," said Zumbach. "Her desire back there to not let the other team score was crucial, especially in the big games. She was a good leader too, a captain for us."

Classmate Rachel Sanborn was honored with the NHIAA Sportsmanship Award this fall, and the hard-working midfielder was rewarded for her play with a goal against Kingswood on Senior Day.

"Rachel was one of those kids that was 100-percent positive," said Zumbach. "She works as hard as anyone on the team. She also understands that she might not be playing more minutes than anyone else but she's content in her role and supports everyone on the team. She's a coach's dream because she'll do anything that you ask. That goal she scored was so well deserved."

Midfielder Jessica Stone was the smallest player on the Gilford roster, but that didn't stop her from going toe-to-toe with anyone on the field.

"She doesn't have much size but she would go up against bigger people and knock them off the ball all season long," Zumbach said. "She's a super hard work, positive and always happy. She was a spark for us, fast and tough."

Ali Daigle was given the team's Most Improved Award, and she saw time all over the place for the Golden Eagles.

"I could use her anywhere…I think she played just about every position but goalkeeper this season," explained Zumbach. "And she came into the season fit and strong. All the players noticed how good she had gotten coming into the season."

Forward Nicole Allen improved as the year went on, and she provided a spark off the Gilford bench.

"She's one of those players that really wants to be on the field so she's got a strong desire to play," said Zumbach. "She stuck with it and ended the year on a positive note."

Defender Brittany Gray suffered an ankle injury late in the year but she toughed it out to put in a few minutes during the team's Senior Game.

"Brittany was always ready to fill in defensively wherever I needed her," Zumbach said. "She was a very supportive player, loved to be a part of the team. She was happy to be out there in whatever capacity she could."

Rounding out the class was midfielder Sonya Shafique, who shifted seamlessly from center to outside mid.

"She can use both feet so she was reliable on the left side for us," said Zumbach. "She did the job well as the year went on and for an outside mid, which is such a tiring position, she played a lot of minutes which was big."

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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