Girls soccer team hopes to defend state title

The team has continuously been ranked 1 by Class A polls throughout the season.

The Benilde-St. Margaret’s girls’ soccer team finished their 2012 campaign on the highest note possible: winning the Class A state title. In the championship game, they defeated the Blake School in a 3-2 thriller with Dana Buckhorn scoring the game-winner on a free-kick in overtime. They finished the regular season with a record of fifteen wins and a tie as well as strolling through sections and winning 2-1 and 3-2 in the state quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively.

The team hopes to continue where they left off last year as they look to defend their state championship. “We are hoping to have as good of a season as we had last year, and I believe we have the team to do it,” junior Allie Coughlin said.

After last year’s success, the team is expected to continue their good play. Along with BSM’s standout players, senior captains Katie Oppenheimer, Kelly Pannek and Megan Katopodis, the team is packed with other players ready to have a successful season. “This year I’d say our team is full of players who have the potential to break out this year. If I were to pick just a couple I’d probably say Allie Coughlin and Aleksa Tataryn. Allie’s playing a new position at center-D and Aleksa is only a sophomore and is already an attacking superstar,” Katopodis said.

Starting off the year with three wins, a loss and a tie in a rematch against Blake, the team looks to continue their lively start to the season and retain their conference title and state championship. “It is still early in the season so a lot can change. This season we have a very cohesive group of girls who are all hard workers. I hope we are capable of returning to state, but only time will tell,” Oppenheimer said.

The team has added eight new players, including four freshmen, to an already strong squad and they have proven themselves to be strong contributors to the team already. “You wouldn’t think they’re new players if you were to watch one of our games because they each play with their unique skills, great composure, and ability to make great plays happen,” Katopodis said.

Head coach Scott Hellings-Christy and his assistants Anne Erickson and Steve Vuolo guided the team to a Class A state championship last year, and the team hopes to continue to implement his ideas and make the group even better. “Scott’s done an amazing job with knowing what our team needs improvement on, how to make that improvement, and how to have fun at the same time…They know how to put together a great group of girls and how to be successful throughout the whole season,” Katopodis said.