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Monarchs low on numbers, high on experience

By Terry Jacoby

If soccer is a numbers game, the Cabrini soccer team is playing both ends of the field. For starters, the Monarchs return 12 players off a team that reached the Catholic League championship game last season. But at the other end of the spectrum is the fact that longtime coach Frank Mlodzik has only 17 players on the roster. 

“We have experience, but with only 17 players and some who are returning from injuries or have recurring injuries, we will have to work hard as a team to remain healthy and mentally tough for the season,” said Mlodzik, who begins his 27th season as coach at Cabrini. 

The Monarchs finished 7-6-5 overall and 3-3-4 in the Catholic League last year. They hope to improve on those numbers this season with a combination of experience and youth.

“We return our whole defense with good leadership and hopefully they can work together as a unit,” Mlodzik said.

Seniors Catherine Diroff, Miranda Trumbla and Michele St. Onge will be the anchors of the defense. Junior Mary Renaud returns from a broken collarbone last season and sophomore Kaycee Artman also returns. Freshmen Karen Iglesias and Abigail Burke and junior Hannah Burke should see plenty of time on the pitch.

In the midfield, Cabrini has already lost Maria Vassallo because of a knee injury she suffered during basketball.

“It’s tough since her and (senior) Caitlyn Lefebvre were the backbone to our central midfield,” Mlodzik said. “But (sophomore) Maddie Carter; (freshman) Lindsay Lefebvre; (sophomore) Kaycee Artman; and (junior) Hannah Burke along with St. Onge should help us.”

Cabrini returns Erin Lockard and Emma Avery to the forward line. The two worked well together last season and are expected to provide plenty of offense this year. Sophomore Dakota Fitch also returns up front. Freshmen Angela Nicola and Megan Wolney also will see playing time.

Senior Allsion Surma, who returns for her fourth season in the net, and freshmen Abigail Burke will handle the goalie duties.

“With such low numbers many players will be playing multiple positions,” Mlodzik said. “These girls made some good strides last season against good competition with good results. They are determined to do better this season.

“Conditioning will be a big area we will need to work on as well as pacing ourselves during games and playing smart.”

In Cabrini’s division of the Catholic League, Everest Collegiate, Lutheran North, Cranbrook, Shrine and Gabriel Richard will all be tough foes. 

The Monarchs are scheduled to open the season March 31 at Southgate Anderson. They host Jewish Academy on April 1 and Everest Academy on April 5.


Matt Quirk takes over the Gabriel Richard soccer program this season and hasn’t seen any of his players actually play in a soccer game. So he’s not totally sure what hand he has been dealt.

But he does like some of the cards he has to play.

“I can say that I expect excellence from several returning players,” said Quirk, who takes over a team that went 6-11-2 last year, including 1-4-1 in the conference. “Seniors Christina Hammond, Kelly Henderson and Madeline Felske along with juniors Elena Mazurkiewicz and Danica Menna will lead our team this year.”

It will take Quirk a few games to learn his team’s strengths and weaknesses and probably a few more games to improve in both areas.

“I cannot make any concrete predictions about wins and losses, because I haven't seen any of our opponents play yet,” he said. “I will say that we will take it one game at a time and play to win every single game.”

Staying healthy will be important for the Pioneers.

“Our keys to success are avoiding injuries and sticking to our style of play regardless of our opponents,” Quirk said.

“From everything I've heard about our league, there are no teams that are head and shoulders above the others.”

The Pioneers are scheduled to open the season at 4 p.m. on March 28 at Woodhaven.

Last Updated: 3/26/2014 3:49:38 PM EST