N I A G A R A
G A Z E T T E
Published: October 15, 2008 10:30 pm
GIRLS SOCCER: GI goes on the defensive
By Nate Beutel
GRAND ISLAND — Defender Jeannie Taylor kind of laughed it off,
but goalkeeper Kristin Wegrzyn wasn’t joking around.
“She’s saved my butt a couple times this year,” Wegrzyn said.
“Actually, the whole defense has been amazing. They’ve been a rock for
That’s an incredible assessment considering the Grand Island girls
soccer team has one of the top offenses in Western New York, averaging
over five goals per game. But it’s an assessment that has helped the
Vikings stay atop the Niagara Frontier League standings and in line for a
shot at their ninth consecutive league title today when they visit fellow
unbeaten Kenmore West.
“With so many first-year varsity players stepping up on the back end ...
they’ve just exceeded my expectations,” GI coach Dave Bowman said.
“They’re incredibly talented, but they proved to me right from the
first game that they could do the job.”
Wegrzyn has anchored the defense from the goalkeeper position with her
communication and play. The junior credited former GI goalie Allie Weiser
for helping make her the player she is today.
“She was my inspiration,” Wegrzyn said of Weiser. “I always wanted
to be like her.”
Like Weiser, Wegrzyn has been blessed with a strong core of defenders
including Taylor, Sara Wilczek, Mia Magliazzo and Jessica Mysliwiec.
She’s also had the luxury of having a solid reserve keeper in Sara
Palazza, who has picked up her own fair share of shutout minutes.
Taylor, a sophomore, said the adjustment to the varsity has been pretty
seamless due to the extensive travel soccer schedule most of the Vikings
play. She also agreed with her coach that the defense’s confidence
sky-rocketed after shutting out Rochester-powers Mercy and Aquinas.
That said, Wilczek admitted that GI “scared themselves” against West
the last time the two teams meet. The tilt finished in a tie, but Wilczek
is confident that this time around will be a different story.
“We’re really excited for this game,” she said. “With our talent
and intensity we can win.”
And the Vikings don’t expect the wins to stop there, with sectional
success and more on their minds.
“We have a saying that goes respect the past and represent the future
and we want to play like that,” Taylor said. “We feel bad when we
lose, so we’re doing everything we can to make sure that doesn’t
happen again (this year).”