ROTTERDAM — Heading into this season, the Schalmont girls’ soccer team already had enough offensive firepower to contend for its fourth consecutive Section II Class B championship.
But the continued emergence of sophomore Jules Monlea gives head coach Alaina Lange and her program a different type of weapon to bolster the Sabres’ attack as this year’s postseason nears.
“She’s the type of player that doesn’t back down,” Lange said. “She’s more power than finesse.”
Monlea started to show that during the late stages of the 2017 season, in which the Sabres won their sixth area crown in seven years. This year, Monlea has starred all along, offering nine goals and nine assists through Schalmont’s 13-1-1 start to the season.
In 2018, Monlea has played both midfield and forward spots for the Sabres. A year ago, she played an even wider range of positions for Schalmont.
“It’s just made me become more of a diverse player,” Monlea said. “That’s made me improve.”
Monlea’s versatility is key for a Schalmont squad with a number of offensive stars. Juniors Sofia Cassano and Davia Rossi are the team’s leading goal scorers, while sophomore Ashley Cirilla, Monlea and senior Vanessa Wainwright are not far behind. Each of those five players, too, ranks in the top five for the team in assists.
“They all have that attacking mindset,” Lange said.
Monlea’s powerful brand of soccer, though, serves as a solid complement to the rest of the Sabres’ attack. “She gives us more of what we want,” Rossi said.
Schalmont suffered its first Colonial Council loss in years last week when it fell to Holy Names. Since that defeat, the Sabres have rattled off three consecutive wins.
“That was definitely our reality check for the season,” Monlea said. “But you win some and you learn from some. We moved on from that, and we will only get better from here.”
During the next couple weeks, Schalmont will get the chance to show that it has done that in its postseason games. But it is in between those contests, Monlea said, that the Sabres need to be at their best to make sure they are ready to make another deep run in the playoffs.
“We’ve been working really hard in practice,” Monlea said. “That’s what’s been working for us.”