Lady Jets soccer team heads to Island Bowl on Saturday
By Randy Rentschler
The Encinal Lady Jets soccer team heads into its final week of action with three games on tap, including the annual season finale Island Bowl game against their crosstown rivals the Lady Hornets. The game starts at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 12 at Thompson Field, corner of Clement and Walnut Street.
The Jets already have already accomplished a great deal this season: Their 12 wins are double the number of victories they scored last year. The Jets currently sport a 12-8-2 record.
The Jets made great progress this year and they are currently in fourth place in league standings. The Jets opened league play in December with a 2-2 tie against a highly favored Piedmont team, putting teams on notice that things would be different in the Bay Shore league this year. Close losses and just plain bad luck in games against the league’s leading teams became the difference as the Jets’ turnaround year fell a few goals short of a remarkable one.
Senior leadership by stalwart defensive player Kathie Schelble and midfielder Carolyn Taylor (C) and a core of returning veterans mentored an upstart group of five freshmen that has ushered in a soccer Renaissance at the “Nail House” – Encinal’s home field. Freshman scoring leader and league leading striker Alex Sifuentes (44 goals, 10 assists) has plenty of help from her 2013 classmates and twin sister, midfielder Cece Sifuentes (11 goals, 21 assists); midfielder Emily Rentschler (16 goals, 9 assists) and forward Carrie Simmons (7 goals, 6 assists). Accounting for 90 percent of the team’s goals, together the four girls form a remarkable freshman forward line that is the heart of the Jets’ league-leading scoring machine.
Add in the outstanding play from freshman goalkeeper Melissa Ma and rock-solid midfield and defense play from sophomores Maddie Schelble, Alex Ferry and Maylis Ardourel plus junior Nicole Naulty, and the Jets give an exciting showing each and every game.
The Encinal Lady Jets are coached by Jean Christophe Decru, a top Bay Oaks Soccer Club coach who has played professional soccer and coached for a decade in France, Greece and the United States. “Coaching these young women the past two years has been a great privilege for me,” Decru said. “Each player has made great progress and the many 6 a.m. practices we had turned the group into a strong team.”
“Soccer is known around the world as the ‘Beautiful Game’ and is played best with great passing skills where all 11 players touch and move the ball – not just forward, but all around the field. That is my goal for the Lady Jets and the young women who I coach,” Decru added.