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With a sub-.500 record in the Berks League and in the overall standings (3-5, 3-9-2, respectively), one could say that the Daniel Boone girls’ soccer team isn’t performing up to par. While that might be true, it can be said, however, that the girls are giving it their maximum effort when they’re out there on the field. Most of all, they’re still having fun while doing it.
Kelly Howiszak is a senior on the team and says that the team isn’t quite playing up to their potential.
“Some games we show up, energized and ready to go, and those are the games we come out for,” she said. “Rarely though do we all come out for the game, and when we do, we come out slow, so we haven’t been doing that well and our record isn’t going to show it, but we have been fighting in a lot of the games.”
Howiszak said it was expected of the team this season to go in and win the games they were supposed to and lose those they were supposed to, and added to that the loss of a tremendous amount of talent from last year; the team’s expectations are not being met right at this moment.
The number one goal for the team this season, according to Howiszak, is to have fun, and the senior says the team is accomplishing that feat even though their performance hasn’t been that stellar this year.
“Even when we lose we have fun,” Howiszak said, “It’s a little frustrating because we should have played better, but we’re still having fun and not just going through the motions. Our other goal was to come out with a win in the matches that we were supposed to win, but we haven’t been able to accomplish that.”
The senior said that it’s kind of hard to come out every game and give it a full 100% when the team has performed as they have, but Howiszak said she tries to view every game as a fresh start, and that way, the team can view their next game as a new opportunity to put their best foot forward.
For herself this year, Howiszak said her main goal this season was just to improve her own play and become a better player. “I’ve tried to work as hard as I can on the field, even if anyone else wasn’t up to my speed. I still try to do everything I can to improve myself.”
Howiszak currently leads the team in scoring. Even though it’s an individual statistic, the senior says it definitely helps the team because the squad doesn’t have a pre-determined person that regularly scores the ball.
Leadership comes at a premium sometimes, depending on the team, but with this squad, Howiszak is proving to be a huge asset. She noted that she pushes players when they need to be pushed, and she tries to lead the team the best she can. Howiszak said, “I perform as well as I want them to. If we’re getting down in a game, I’m not afraid to tell them what they should be doing. Sometimes they don’t handle that kind of news the way they should, but they need to know.”
Howiszak considers herself more of a physical leader, saying that what she does should in some way be followed, but in another way she has grown as a vocal leader as well.
“With the team being so young and inexperienced, we need someone to communicate with them, and I feel as if I’m one of those people to fit that role, said Howiszak.”
With all the leadership qualities she is displaying, Howiszak said, “I think the younger players are responding quite well to what I’m trying to instill in them - especially the freshmen. They take the advice and know that I have the experience, and they respect what I have to say to them. Most try to improve upon the things I point to.”
Howiszak also noted that her leadership style has been rubbing off, especially with the juniors on the squad. She noted, “They’re definitely fitting into their roles more. They were kind of quiet before, but now they’re stepping up.”
With the season as it is for the girls, Howiszak said it’s possible for the team to win a few more games to finish strong. “If we all show up for the games, we always have a chance,” she said. “We have a few tough match-ups coming around the corner, but we’ll go in with our heads up, and we should put up a good fight.”
Heading into next season, Howiszak said that the team will definitely be in good hands going forward. “We have a good coach, there are good players coming through our system, and I think our freshmen are evolving into those high school athletes,” said Howiszak. “The transformation has been slow so far, but I think next year they’ll step it up, and as long as we keep developing players from the middle school on up, we should have a solid program for years to come.”