Amanda Guest’s goals were up, as were the number of wins this season for the High School South girls soccer team on the rise.
The junior forward led the Pirates with 11 goals by the end of the season, double what she had in her first two years for head Coach Chris Trefz’s squad.
The team finished with a 5-12 overall record and had some momentum heading into the Mercer County Tournament against fourth-seeded Hopewell Valley.
They were coming off back to back wins for the first time during the season—a 1-0 victory over Ewing on Oct. 15 and a 2-1 win over South Brunswick two days earlier.
Ultimately the team was defeated in the Hopewell Valley game, 3-0, on Oct. 18, but came back to again beat Ewing, 5-0, in an MCT consolation game on Oct. 23. Guest scored two goals in that contest.
The team was defeated in its final game of the season, 3-0, against Hunterdon Central on Oct. 30 in the first round of the NJSIAA state tournament.
The Pirates showed progress even as they fought through an injury plagued season. Guest’s running mate up top, Tia Saade, missed more than half the season. Her return in the final week of the regular season gave WW-P South another boost.
“I love playing with her (Tia) because she’s someone up top that I can count on and depend on,” Guest said.
The wins came a little more frequently this year than in Guest’s first two seasons. The Pirates won a combined five games in 2016 and 2017.
“I think the biggest thing for us is just our confidence level,” Guest said. “The last two years have not been very good seasons for us. My freshman year we had two wins and sophomore year we had three wins. It’s hard for us to come out with the same girls and try to turn that around.
“This year we tried to have a good look at it, and Coach Trefz has done a good job of working with us and all trying to figure out what’s good for us in practice and what helps us improve during warm-ups.”
The Pirates had some close calls that could have made their record even better. They trailed Hightstown, 4-0, at halftime only to rally to make it 4-3. They also suffered a one-goal loss to Robbinsville and a two-goal loss to North. They scored on unbeaten Allentown in the first half before falling, 5-2, to a team ranked in the top three in the state.
“This season has definitely been a little rough due to all these injuries, but I think we’ve all handled it pretty well,” Guest said. “Even though our season’s record hasn’t been the best, I think the scores of the games don’t reflect how we play because in a lot of the games we’ve played so well and we’ve fought really hard compared to other seasons.
Guest played a bigger part of the offense this year. She has used her experience to help her have her best season of high school soccer so far.
“Amanda has been going back and forth from midfield to the forward position,” Trefz said. “In her freshman year, I had her at an outside midfield position. She has great speed, good technical ability. She takes people 1 on 1 very well. She’s an exciting player to watch. She’s great, and she’s a great kid. She’s only a junior.
“She came in as a freshman like a little fireball. She’s still that same way. She’s just gotten smarter and in some aspects she’s gotten quicker as far as her touches are concerned, and also with her thought process. That’s to be expected going from a freshman to a junior.”
Guest will be rising into a bigger leadership role next year. This year’s senior class is spread across the field from Saade on the forward line back to new senior goalie, Rachel Jaclin.
“I think we’re getting back up there,” Guest said. “I think we have a good mindset about it… I think we’re improving more and more each year and it can only get better from here.