All the championships and shiny trophies aside, the key to scholastic sports is the lessons learned. These experiences come in both victory and defeat. The loses show us what needs improving and the victories support the dedication needed to succeed.
Paige Addis, tri-captain of the Council Rock North girls’ soccer team, certainly values this sporting truism. She appreciates that sports provides an excellent means of learning and growing. “I love the camaraderie of soccer with everyone around you. Also, the feeling of winning and losing which are important aspects you’re going to learn in life. Not everything is sunshine and roses. All the competitiveness and lessons you learn through life can come by playing soccer. Not only do I love playing soccer but I realize how much of a difference it makes in my life.”
For Paige, the evolution began her sophomore year at Council Rock. “I grew a lot as a player. Going from junior varsity, where I played my freshman year, to varsity my sophomore year is bigger than most people assume. The speed of play and physicality is different. High school is a very physical game and that is something you have to get used to.”
Paige obviously made the transition quite well. Last year she earned all-conference third team honors. “My junior year was where I really got to step up and get to the physical level I needed to play at. So now I feel all these lessons have changed my game a lot.”
Entering her senior year, Paige assumed the role of center forward, one she feels best suits her personal skills. “I help us progress in the attack and I’m the target forward so the defense is looking to skip lines and play to me. I’m also a stronger forward. I don’t have as much pace but I use my strength to hold the ball up and let us get up the field and, of course, score.”
Having been raised by a father who lived in England, Paige developed a real sense for the game of soccer early in her life. “I feel I have a good soccer IQ and know where the gaps in the field are. Because I don’t have the innate speed of a lot of people, I use my IQ to compensate.”
Paige’s selfless play also manifests itself in her view of being a team captain. She wants to help the Indians improve on their 3-9 conference record of last season. “The last couple of years we’ve missed playoffs and haven’t had great seasons. We really struggled and couldn’t find a reason why we weren’t connecting. Now that I’m one of the captains I realize I have to make our team play as a team and not just as individuals. I want to unite everyone as a team.”
The Indians showed they had embraced Paige’s philosophy in their season opener, a 3-2 win over Abington High School. “That was a really important game because we saw that as a winnable game. It was so important because it set us off on a winning start to the season. If we win those winnable games than we can contest in the harder games against Pennsbury, Neshaminy and South.”
North scored the first two games and appeared ready to dominate their opponent. Alyssa Lanigan tallied the first goal. Paige readily recalls the play. “The ball was passed back to the keeper. I rushed her and pressured her. She hit a wayward pass that went to Alyssa who went around a player and shot it in the right corner.”
Kaleigh O’Donnell scored next in what Paige viewed as a key strategical move. “We were pushing up on the goalie because we knew she was a little shaky. It was off a throw she made and Kaleigh was 25 yards and scored a great goal.”
Unfortunately for the hometown Council Rock crowd, Abington battled back to even the score. “When we let Abington back into the game, we said oh no this is what happened last year. We all said we’re not letting this happen again.”
The Rock had learned yet another important lesson. Do not assume anything. Play the whole game. The aggressive style worked when Paige banged home the inning tally midway through the second half. “Kaleigh got a foul right outside of the box toward the side and then Sammy Judge played a perfect ball on the ground that was just high enough. It went passed all the players and I tapped it in with my left foot.”
The new-look Council Rock squad felt euphoric after the big win. “It felt so good! We lost our last couple games last season so this was a relief that we won. We worked our butts off to get to this position. This is a new page for us, a new book. It’s not the story of last season. It’s our season and we’re writing our own story.”
As Paige will readily attest, the entire team has grown appreciably this year. They all have learned from previous seasons and are ready to make a real mark in the highly competitive Suburban One League.