LYNN — With a new season on the horizon, the expectations for the St. Mary’s girls soccer team are clear.
“Our expectation is to be in the state tournament every year, that’s our goal,” Spartans head coach Jim Foley said. “I think if we play the way we should and stay healthy, which is a big question mark for anybody, we should be alright.”
Staying healthy was a challenge for the Spartans last fall, but they still managed to qualify for the Division 4 North state tournament after finishing the regular season at 9-7-3. St. Mary’s, the No. 14 seed, took down No. 3 Innovation Academy in the first round but fell to No. 6 Amesbury in the quarterfinals.
“The season ended a little bit earlier than we liked last year,” Foley said. “We had a few injuries. We kind of had to reshuffle the deck,” Foley said. “We’re going to rely on our seniors and juniors this year. That is really where our best skill players are. Those girls have been here the longest and we will go as far as they’ll take us.”
That core group of players starts with the team’s three senior captains, center-midfielder Joslyn Deschenes and outside midfielders Jenna Foley and Sherly Feliz.
“We have a strong junior class also, including two-time all star Morgan Mackey, who has been outstanding for us since she got here,” Foley said.
Foley will also look for successful seasons from several juniors including defenders Emily Egan and Riley Lynch, outside midfielder Katie O’Neill and forward Kayla Demers.
“With those three seniors as leaders and our juniors that’s really where the core of our team is,” Foley said. ‘We also have Susannah Cornell who’s a sophomore and our leading scorer from last year.”
The season’s still young but things have looked solid thus far in the preseason. Foley said he has seen plenty of potential on the field through practices and scrimmages and he hopes that continues into the season.
“So far we have done well,” Foley said. “We had a good day of scrimmages on Saturday, we have had some great practices the last week and now we are looking forward to go down to Cape Cod for a jamboree this weekend.”
The Spartans hope the hard work at the end of the summer will help them earn wins against a competitive Central Catholic League in the fall.
“Our league, just as it is in every sport, is one of the better leagues in the state,” Foley said. “There is no weak team in the CCL and it’s a battle every single night.
“That’s the part of our season where you especially can’t take any days off,” Foley added. “Any game, on the road or at home, is always a battle in our league.”
Before getting into league play, St. Mary’s will start the season in the Lynn City Tournament on September 4th against Lynn Tech (5 p.m.) at Manning Field. The Spartans won the City Tournament last fall and are three-time defending champions.
“We’re going in as the defending champs of the tournament and we’re excited to try to defend our title,” Foley said. “We’re going to expect a battle from whoever we play, whether its Lynn Tech or Classical or English if we get by the first game. We’re looking forward to it.”