Jamie Mastro isn’t sure where she’s going to play this spring on the soccer field.
The Oswego senior is fine with that, as long as she’s contributing and the Panthers are doing well.
It’s that kind of selflessness and team-first attitude that the Panthers are going to need this season if they plan on being successful since their roster boasts a lot of new faces and youth combined with veterans like Mastro.
“I’m not really sure where I’m going to play yet,” Mastro said. “I’m looking forward to playing forward and last year I got put at center-mid, but usually I’m at forward with Anaka [Carlson].”
Carlson is also a senior while defenders Sophia Molina and Ashley Bailey also return and give the team two solid leaders on its back line.
“Our youth should be a strength for us this year,” Oswego coach Kelsey Champion said. “We have some new faces that work hard and love the game. We hope to compete and win close games and are looking to come together as a team and learn as quickly as possible so that we can win.”
Bailey said the kids who are new to the team have already fit in nicely so that transition has been a good one.
“We’re actually connecting on and off the field,” she said. “That’s helping us a lot. A lot of it has to do with our attitude. Our attitude is pretty good right now. If we can keep that attitude that should help us a lot and everything.”
Avoiding getting caught up in negative influences and playing outside of themselves are two things that Panthers need to avoid, which isn’t always easy.
“We just have to look at what we need to do ourselves as a team and not because people are telling us to worry about things,” Bailey said. "We need to play by reading what we see on the field and reacting to what we say and not on what other teams say or what we hear about them.”
Sophomore midfielder Sarah Petrausakas and sophomore midfielder Haleigh Aughenbaugh are two of the promising newcomers to the squad/
They’ll look to help out with scoring opportunities, especially now that the Panthers no longer have Kaylee Zimbelmann (12 goals, six assists in 2018). Carlson and Mastro will certainly be in the mix as well and a balanced attack could certainly be a difference-maker after going 8-10-2 and 4-4 in conference.
“I think we have a really strong offense now,” Mastro said. “Not that we didn’t have it before, but a lot of these new girls seem like they’re pretty good and I know our defense is going to be really good. It’s still kind of hard to say because we haven’t been able to play outside yet.”
Izzy Erickson, a Blackburn College commit, and goalkeeper Megan Newton, who will play collegiately at Aurora University, also return for the Panthers.
The Panthers have a busy March to get the season started, opening at Joliet Catholic this week as one of six games before April rolls around. In addition to their rugged conference schedule, they will compete in the Plainfield Classic and Naperville Invitational in April.