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Lady Mallards are athletic and experienced soccer players

(Aug. 30, 2013) Carol Hartnett, who has coached the Worcester Prep girls’ soccer team since 1998, is “really optimistic” about the 2013 season.

“[The players] are athletic and they have a lot of soccer experience. The girls have a soccer mentality. They’re just a great group to work with,” she said. “They’re all about the team. We have people who can put the ball in the net, we have a solid defense and we have people in the midfield who can distribute the ball.”

Hartnett’s 21-player roster consists of 16 veterans.

She will count on sweeper Alissa Talbert (2012 Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference First Team) and Cynthia Delaney, both seniors, to anchor the defensive line.

“I know the coaches and I’ve been with the program for a while so I kind of know where they want our players to go,” said Talbert, a four-year player.

Seniors Claire Dorey and Sarah Freund will also take the field on defense. Sophomore Grace Tunis (All-ESIAC Second Team) returns in the goal for the Lady Mallards.

Veterans, Amanda Gabriel and Molly Soulé, both juniors who received All-Conference Second Team honors in 2012, will play in the midfield.

Senior Lilly DiNardo, 2012 ESIAC Player of the Year, will run the forward line. The four-year player said she will use her experience to get “everyone pumped up for games and make sure everyone’s listening to the coaches, which will be really imperative to have a good season because we have a lot of freshmen and sophomores.”

“I’m really excited about the season. It will be a lot of fun,” she added.

Joining DiNardo up top will be veterans, Sophie Brennan, a junior, and sophomore Julia D’Antonio.

Hartnett said the five freshmen–twins Olivia and Madison Bescak (midfield), Julie Talbert (defense), Maggie Coutu (midfield) and Melissa Laws (goalie/midfield)–will all be impact players.

“Their presence will definitely be felt by other teams,” she said.

Added DiNardo, “A lot of the freshmen are filling big positions of the graduating seniors last year and they’re doing a really good job.”

Hartnett said the team’s motto is “take advantage of every opportunity given to us this season.”

The Mallards hope to make a run for the ESIAC title in 2013. They fell to their annual conference rival, the Sts. Peter & Paul Sabres, 1-0, in double overtime of the championship game last year.

The Worcester squad finished 2013 with an 8-4-1 record. The only losses were to Sts. Peter & Paul and St. Andrews (both twice).

“My goal is to win the ESIAC championship,” Talbert said. “We’ve been there the past three years and I think we really have the talent this year to win it.”

Worcester Prep freshman Julie Talbert battles for the ball with a James M. Bennett player during Tuesday’s scrimmage at the Berlin school.

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