Emma Carr and Olivia Byrnes
Assistant editors of production
Making it to the Final Four of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association girls soccer tournament was a big deal for the Jamesville-DeWitt High School Varsity Girls soccer team, but there were also some major individual accomplishments on the team. Coach Hayley Nies, sophomore Alex Catanzarite, and senior Caroline Kopp were voted on to The All-Central New York Soccer Team. All the coaches in the CNY area vote for the 20 girls from 14 different schools that make the team. Coach Nies, who has coached the J-DHS Girls Varsity soccer team for 25 years, was voted Coach of the Year and Kopp was chosen as Player of the Year. You can read more about Kopp here.
This selective team isn’t a team that plays against other schools, but more of an elite group of players who are recognized for their skill.“It feels really good, and I’m honored to have been picked,” said Catanzarite who ended the regular season with 20 goals and 12 assists.
Coach Nies and Catanzarite’s teammates have no doubt in their mind that Catanzarite deserved this honor. “Alex works very hard, she is dedicated, she has a purpose when she steps on the field, and she just never quits. She has a perfect effort,” said Coach Nies. “She is definitely a good player, she knows when to go to the ball, when to pass it, and she knows when to shoot,” added junior teammate Ally Balotin. The team also says that Catanzarite really influences them through her unselfish play because she considers every player on the team.
The team also has no doubt that Coach Nies deserves this honor, eventhough she’s modest about it. “I’ve been the coach before, its an honor, but it’s really not about me - it’s about the players and what they bring to the table. They are all very motivated and work hard to get what they want,” said Coach Nies who helped lead the team to a 21-1 season, with their only loss being in the state tournament against Somers High School. However her players say that their motivation comes from her telling them what they did wrong and how to improve after every game. To motivate her players and keep them focused, Coach Nies brought in movies to watch before games to see opposing teams strategies. She also picks a theme every year that helps to bond the team, “we pretty much do the same thing each season, and we’ve been pretty successful,” said Coach Nies, “it brings them all together, and it’s something to laugh about.”
“Throughout the season she always reminded us of our goals and once we got into sectionals, regionals, and playoffs she got more intense,” said senior Julia Slisz. “She puts a lot of time and energy into the program and does a great job with the team. She really cares about us and “definitely deserves this award,” said senior goalie Maddy Frank. “She’s always professional always prepared,” said Athletic Director John Goodson, who also added that she is always positive and really cares about the players.
Both Catanzarite and Coach Nies will continue their greatness on the field together next year. Catanzarite, with her coach’s help, will progress towards her goal of becoming a Division I soccer player. “If she keeps going this way she will have a future in this sport,” said Coach Nies about Catanzarite.