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HomeLocal & StateSpringstead hosts Girls Preseason Soccer Event

Springstead hosts Girls Preseason Soccer Event

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Springstead hosted a two-night soccer event for the girls’ soccer teams from Weeki Wachee High School, Anclote High School, and Sumner High School.

For the Weeki Wachee and Springstead coaches, they are getting prepared for the start of the season. “To prepare for the start of the season, we’ve been working on cohesion; many of my players have varying experience levels, come from different clubs teams, and have different skill sets.  The girls have to learn to play together and learn the style of play that works best for us as a team,” said Sarah Bell, head coach for Springstead Girls Varsity Team.

Springstead player pushes to stay in front of Hornets Destiny Mendoza and Izabella Slover.
Photography by Alice Mary Herden.

“It’s a new season, and the girls have had a revolving door of coaches, so in the short time we have had together, I’m trying to establish new standards and expectations for the returning players and new members of the team,” said Tom Pellito, head soccer coach for the Weeki Wachee girls’ varsity team.

Preseason sporting events are incredibly beneficial to the players’ skills and how those individual skills contribute to the team. “Competing in the preseason was a great way to have the girls start building the cohesive unity we need to be,” said Bell. “We had some players in new positions this year in the preseason, so the team is adjusting and building chemistry. The preseason allowed me as a coach to experiment a little in game-like situations.” 

Jillian Aldrich of Weeki Wachee switches angles to regain the ball from Springstead. Photography by Alice Mary Herden.
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“I’m glad we had an opportunity to see how we play together on the full-sized pitch. In practice, when you know everyone, you can get comfortable. In the game, the girls saw how the intensity and aggression must increase and how vital it is to communicate and play to each others’ strengths. We saw the duality of winning and losing and handled both with grace. Being able to psychologically keep our composure in victory and defeat will be beneficial for the players on and off the field,” Pellito said. 

The girls’ soccer season is well on its way, and not only is one game something to look forward to, but every game is something the girls can learn from. “I’m really looking forward to the girls playing at their optimal level,” said Bell. “I’ve scheduled the number of challenging opponents to really push the girls this season, and I’m looking forward to just seeing the girls grow. I believe this is one of the most talented teams Springstead girls soccer has had, and last season we were very successful (16-4) with a young team. I also have several seniors this year that I have had the pleasure to coach the last four years; they’ve come a long way from their freshman year when they were 3-14-3.  Overall, I’m hoping to build on our success from last year, bring out the best in each player and be competitive at the highest level.”

Weeki Wachee Natalie Torres attempts to steal the ball from a Springstead player during the preseason game at Springstead High School. Photography by Alice Mary Herden.

“As a coach, I witness the progression of improvement in their gameplay throughout the season, and it is always a night and day difference. We have a tight-knit group of good girls who are all on the same page in terms of wanting to get better and win. What I want all of the girls to learn from this experience is how to handle adversity, work together with others, and to continue to strive for improvement,” Pellito said.  Weeki Wachee travels to Hernando High on November 15, and Springstead hosts Land O’ Lakes on their home field on November 16. 

Alice Mary Herden
Alice Mary Herden is an award-winning professional photographer and writer focusing on nature and wildlife. From 2008 to 2021, Alice has owned Green-Fly Media LLC, a freelance photography business. She freelanced for Hernando Sun for five years covering sports, community, and environmental reporting. Alice was nominated for Agricultural & Environmental Reporting for articles published in Hernando Sun in the Florida Press Association Weekly Newspaper Contest. She placed second for Agricultural & Environmental Reporting and was awarded first place in Portfolio Photography in 2018 and took home first place in 2019. She was awarded the Robert J. Ellison Memorial Award for Portfolio Photography in 2018. She published three online magazines, Voices to Visions, a Dust and Shadows Magazine, which featured haunted locations and interviews with paranormal celebrities. Football Magazine was the first minor league football magazine in the state of Florida based on the United Football Federation football league that featured game coverage, interviews including former NFL players and College Coaches. She also created RAW- Real Amazing Wildlife featured nature and wildlife photography. Since 2015, Alice has been a volunteer at Chinsegut Conservation Center located in Brooksville, Florida. She helps with programs as well as organizing nature photography workshops. Alice is also a co-organizer for the yearly event ‘Chinsegut Wildlife Day’ and the ‘Wild Florida’ Photography Exhibit. Alice obtained two career diplomas, Wildlife/Forestry Conservation and Freelance Writing, from Penn Foster in 2019. She completed the Florida Master Naturalist Program core module courses: Upland, Freshwater, and Coastal Systems through the adult education UF/IFAS Extension program to obtain her Master Naturalist certification in September of 2020. She completed the Land Steward and Restoration Courses to obtain her title as an Advanced Master Naturalist. In September of 2020, Alice enrolled in a course at Cornell Lab Bird Academy to obtain her certification in Ornithology: Comprehensive Bird Biology, which she completed in October 2020. In January of 2021, Alice was hired for a part-time position with FWC as an Educational Specialist and in June of 2021 hired as Sponsored Project OPS for UF/IFAS in Hernando County. She is back writing for Hernando Sun and continues to publish photography and nature writing on her blog- FloridaNature.Net. Alice is married to Donald Herden Jr and resides in Weeki Wachee, Florida, with their two dogs, Bree and Willow.
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