By Mary Battenfeld
As the Bruins skated to the Stanley Cup last month, a group of Jamaica Plain girls were passing and kicking their way to a Boston Area Youth Soccer (BAYS) Cup.
The Girls U-11 Jamaica Plain Tigers ended the season with a division leading record of 7 wins, 2 losses and 1 tie, narrowly beating the second-place Lexington Minute Ladies.
The team members included: Grace Cole, Sophie Diers, Mia Villafuerte Duffy, Nell Fredericks, Lexi Hamilton, Sydney Hershberg, Alexis Honzik, Lauren Honzik, Shaina Jewett-Wolf, Sophie Lapat, Michelle Mantilla, Eliza Orlando-Milbauer, Varsha Perkins, Annie Tremblay, Lucie Tremblay, Eva Wallin and Lisa Winshall. It was coached by Javier Villafuerte and Steve Cole.
The girls have trained hard over several years to improve their game. Twice-weekly practices under the guidance of Jamaica Plain Youth Soccer volunteer coaches honed their skills. As Jon Rudzinski, girls travel director for JPYS, put it, “The team didn’t stumble into this. They earned it.”
Win or lose, the play of the Tigers displayed their effort, teamwork, and love of soccer. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the final game of the regular season. Slippery field conditions and a physical Winchester team that left several Tigers bruised made the last game a difficult one. And though they lost, neither the foul weather nor the foul-filled game could stop the Tigers from playing a hard but clean game that showed off their spirit and sportsmanship.
In addition to their regular season accomplishments, the Tigers also competed in the President’s Cup, a BAYS single-elimination tournament. Playing against higher-ranked teams in a very competitive division, JP fought like their namesake tigers and reached the semi-finals. In the opening game of the tournament, the Tigers came back from a two-goal deficit to beat an undefeated Wellesley team in overtime. Coach Javier Villafuerte described the game as “the most exciting game I have watched so far in all the years coaching.”
The writer is the mother of a JP Tigers team member.