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Seniors Forge 'Team First' Concept for
Nipmuc Soccer
As the old cliché goes, there is no "I" in "team." This has never been more true than for this season's Nipmuc girls' soccer team, which put together
a run to the district finals that head coach Miguel Vidal said was inspired by the seniors and their focus on putting the team's success before any one player.
"The best thing the seniors did this year is they brought a huge change regarding 'team first,'" Vidal said. "The idea that the team is more important than the individuals. They were very good at that."
Captains Abigail and Erin Murphy, and Gaby Puchovski, as well as fellow seniors Kate Nadolski and Lucy Hawkins, helped end a culture of jealousy or resentment over playing time.
"There were no issues about 'why is this player starting ahead of me today and I started ahead of her the last time,'" Vidal said. "That's what soccer is, matchups, and they really helped the entire team understand that."
For the first time, the Warriors held classroom sessions, during which the seniors and captains spoke to the rest of the squad about the importance of a team structure over one that is centered around individual players.
The results were palpable in several ways. Nipmuc posted an impressive 14-6-2 record on the season and advanced as the number seven seed in the district tournament all the way to the tournament title match before falling to BVT.
It also showed in ways that are not reflected in the wins and losses.
"For the last four games of the tournament, players were standing
right in front of the bench cheering whoever was on the field," Vidal said. "They were cheating and pushing each other and, when a player came out, someone had a bottle of water, 'here is your jacket, what do you need?'
"That kind of teamwork," he said, "that was so important."
Vidal said he hopes the changes this year's seniors brought to the team will become a part of the fabric of the program. "They established a legacy that I hope will be here for years to come," he said. "They were great teammates and great leaders. They really brought something to the team and I cannot say enough about them."




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