It was finally Katelyn Laccinole’s time to hammer the back of the net.
The Inglemoor High senior midfielder had spent her entire varsity soccer career setting up others to light up the scoreboard. She would get in on the scoring action for the first time in the 12th game of her final Viking season.
After cracking a shot between the North Creek posts late in the first half on Oct. 16 at Pop Keeney Stadium, Laccinole quickly turned up field with her hands slightly raised and a huge smile emblazoned across her face. Once she reached several of her teammates, the embraces were extra tight and the jubilance was electric.
“It felt good,” Laccinole said after the match, during which she scored both goals in the Vikings’ 2-0 victory. “I’ve just been grinding, and then when it comes, it came and I just knew I needed to capitalize on it.”
With the win, Inglemoor upped its first-place record to 6-0-1 and the Vikings stood at 8-1-3 overall at press time.
Senior center back and captain Maya Oleynikova said it’s exciting to watch the team improve and become more unified this season.
“Seeing that manifest itself in us scoring goals and not allowing goals to get scored on us… winning those games, it’s been really rewarding,” she said, adding that they’ve been stringing together solid passes. “Having that chemistry and having the ability to really work together has been really beneficial to us, and I think that reflects in our standings.”
In her first season at center back, Oleynikova has been diligent in staving off opponents’ attacks in the back alongside senior captain Rachel Conchi, sophomore Olivia Levy, freshman Riley McQuade and junior Julianna Barker. Communication is strong between the tight-knit group as they strive to keep the net unscathed.
On the scoring front, the Vikings have benefited from the talent of players like junior Ashly Berge and sophomore Julia Monson.
Conchi was especially enthusiastic during Laccinole’s first goal, which mirrored her joy of stepping back onto the pitch after sitting out her junior season with an injury. Conchi was also sidelined for most of her freshman season before getting in a full sophomore year.
It was important for Conchi to return to the Viking fold this season.
“I think having missed last year, and seeing them struggle, it was really hard to be sitting on the sideline during that. It’s really nice meeting girls that were new on the team last year that I didn’t get to know,” said Conchi, adding with a laugh that she was devising a roster for this season in her mind while watching matches in 2018.
“I was thinking like, ‘OK, who’s graduating, who can we pull up from JV, how is next season gonna go? Who’s gonna be on the opposite teams? Everything was looking forward to this season,” she said.
Head coach Kent Nelke encourages the girls to be their best each day, said Conchi, who added that the Viks aim to stay calm and composed when they play crucial conference games.
Moving forward in the schedule, Laccinole said the girls can’t let up or get cocky — they just need to stay the course of team togetherness that’s worked for them all season.
“Just having each other, being able to look at each other and just know that we’re all in it for one reason,” she said of continued success.