Mahwah Girl’s Soccer Wins First State Title in 25 Years
Wins title game 3-1 after crushing defeat in championship game a year ago
As the Mahwah girl's varsity soccer team walked off the field after losing to Haddonfield in last season's state championship game many thoughts rushed through the girls heads. They were about to lose two of their star players to graduation and many of the experts believed the Thunderbirds chance at a state title was now gone.
The team also had to go through an unexpected coaching change as Courtney Levine was named head coach after Michael Wright stepped down due to a less flexible job schedule.
Levine knew she had a strong core of players returning and had the potential to achieve the goal they missed out on the previous season. She named three seniors, Alexa Freguletti, Jordyn Davis, and Nicole Lee, captains of the team. These girls would teach, motivate, and propel the squad to a championship level.
Going into the season the team only had one thought in mind: win a state title. "We all had the same goal and we talked about it often. We didn't want the same result as last season," said coach Courtney Levine.
The season did not come without some adversity. Coach Levine only had 16 players on her roster, and injuries to key members had the Thunderbirds playing with as few as 13 active players during games. "We definitely did not go injury free this season. Jordyn injured her knee and missed a couple of games. Alexa missed three weeks with stitches in her leg," said Levine.
The soccer team, though, was on a mission and was not going to let a few injuries stop them from achieving their goal. "We came too far to walk away without a championship," said the coach.
Heading into the state title game against Johnson, the girls were confident. "We were less nervous after our experience in last year's final," said midfielder Jordyn Davis.
During the championship match, Levine knew they had to breakthrough early. They were able to, as Freguletti scored minutes into the match.
"We were playing with experience, and they were playing with emotion. We wanted to deflate them early and we were able to do that," said Levine.
The team went on to win the game 3-1 and won their first state championship in 25 years. The final whistle brought jubilation to all of the girls. "It's impossible to put into words how amazing it felt," said Freguletti.
The team, which was such a tightly knit group, was finally able to see their hard work payoff. "We all played together for so long and are so close on and off the field. We are like a family and would do anything for each other. It was great to celebrate the title with people we care so much about," said Lee.
Levine must now move on without her three captains next season. Freguletti will be attending Monmouth University, Davis is heading to Kutztown University, and Lee will be a freshman at Lafayette College. All three girls will be playing soccer at the collegiate level.
"It's bittersweet," said Levine. "We worked so hard and now we have to walk away from all of this."
Coach Levine and the returning members of the team will strive to reach another state championship game next season, but the coach knows one thing is for sure: "These girls will never be replaced."