It should surprise nobody that following its historic 2015 season the Pinkerton Academy girls’ soccer team had a slew of its skilled players receive all-state recognition from the Division I coaches.
The 2015 Lady Astros – who delivered the first girls’ state soccer championship to their school after three previous PA girls’ soccer crews had made trips to title matches in years long past – had five standouts collect all-state honors, with four of them being named first-teamers. And to coach Steve Gundrum’s joy, three of the five are expected back for a defense of the state title next autumn.
The Pinkerton contingent had senior goalie Sammy Mitchell, senior defender Catherine Goodwin, junior midfielder Courtney Velho, and sophomore forward Nicole Alves all garner First-Team All-State recognition, and junior middie Reanna Romano snag second-team honors for their stellar contributions to their 18-1 title-winning team’s dream campaign.
Soft-spoken Gundrum needs little incentive to discuss the attributes that made his talented quintet all-state worthy.
Speaking of net-minder Mitchell, Gundrum stated, “She had nine shutouts in net, only allowed nine goals, and was the best keeper in Division I.”
Of defensive stalwart Goodwin, Gundrum said, “She’s a fast, smart center-back in a three-back system, playing a high-stress position that she made look easy.”
Discussing diminutive but speedy and ever-dangerous young forward Alves – who took some real physical battering during the state tournament but always got back up to play, looking absolutely composed – Gundrum stated, “She was the leading goal-scorer on the team, and she scored many game-winners against quality opponents.”
Velho drew high praise from her mentor, who said, “She was the most skilled player on the team, as well as the assist-leader on the team.”
And coming around to junior standout Romano, Gundrum spoke concisely but glowingly saying, “She is tough, fast, and soccer-smart.”
The Lady Astros’ all-state quintet helped its team win its first 15 matches of the regular season before that segment of the campaign came to a close with a tough, 2-1 loss to the Nashua North Lady Titans during the final game of the regular season at home.
However, Gundrum’s top-seeded group later got revenge and ended the number nine Lady Titans’ 2015 campaign with a 2-1, quarterfinal-round tournament defeat. And the Pinkerton bunch then went on to best the fifth-ranked Bedford Lady Bulldogs and the third-seeded Londonderry High Lady Lancers en route to the D-I crown.