Springfield With just a couple more weeks remaining in the regular season, the Lee High girls' soccer team is right around the .500 mark (4-5-1) and playing particularly well of late.
The Lancers are 2-1-1 over their past four games. While its play has been uneven at times over the course of the spring season, the Lee team is certainly playing good soccer as the upcoming Patriot District tournament draws near.
"We have a good group of core girls who are putting in every last bit of effort to try and get the wins, which is motivating other players to pick it up as well," said Lancers' head coach Nikki Giunta.
Lee won two of its first three games to begin the season. The Lancers lost their season opener to visiting Washington-Lee (National District), 6-1, on March 13 but came back with home wins over two Liberty District teams, South Lakes and Fairfax, by identical 3-2 scores on March 19 and 21, respectively.
Sitting at 2-1, Lee then entered its toughest stretch of the season, losing three straight games: at Oakton (Concorde District), 6-0 on March 27; at local rival and Patriot District opponent Lake Braddock, 5-1, on April 10; and home versus district foe South County, 5-1, on April 12.
That put the Lancers at 2-4 and in dire need of a win. Lee got it in its following contest on April 20 when coach Giunta's squad won a district home game over T.C. Williams, 3-2.
THE LANCERS lost at district opponent and Springfield-area rival West Springfield, 5-2, four days later, but got back into the win column with a 2-1 victory at Marshall High (Liberty District) last Thursday night, April 26, a contest played on the Statesmens' home field off of Route 7 and near Tyson's Corner.
In Lee's most recent game earlier this week on Tuesday, May 1, the Lancers played visiting district opponent W.T. Woodson to a 1-1 tie.
Lee is scheduled to play a district game at Annandale High on Thursday night, May 3 of this week at 7 p.m. Next week, the Lancers will wrap up the regular season schedule with a non-district game at Madison High (Liberty District) in Vienna on Monday, May 7, and a district home game versus West Potomac in the regular season finale on Wednesday, May 9. Both contests are scheduled to begin at 7.
"So far, I think our season has been filled with highs and lows," said coach Giunta. "We have moments where we play really well and moments where we seem to mentally let down which allows teams to come back in a game."
TOP PLAYERS for the Lancers this season have included goal-scorer Daniela Neves; Meghan Cox, who has controlled play in the midfield; Nicole Puddy, who has been a key defensive player as well as a nice contributor on the offensive end when she has been called upon to play at forward; and Laura Geter, a steady defender who has done a good job thwarting offensive rushes with her keen ability to intercept balls.
One of the team's best moments this season, according to Giunta, came away from the soccer field and at a benefit event.
"Although it was not a soccer moment, one of my season highlights has been a charity event," said the coach. "My girls and I did the Lupus Walk in [Washington], D.C. because my mom has lupus and my girls wanted to support the cause. They sent out emails to fundraise and bring awareness and then we all went into D.C. to walk 1.5 miles and support people who are suffering from the disease.
"It was really a touching moment for me and to see how great my girls were at the event," said the coach. "It really made me proud that these girls were not only hard workers on the field but role models off the field as well."