Led by senior captain Amy Yando, six members of the 2019 Peoples Academy girls soccer team have been named to postseason all-star teams.
Yando, a four-year starter for the Wolves, was named to both the Capital League First Team and the Division 3 All-State Team, a collection of the top players in the state.
Yando’s classmates, Lizzy Craig and Paige Pierce, were both named to the Capital League Second Team and three Wolves, sophomore Weslie Carlson, junior Linden Osborne and freshman Josie Simone, made the Capital League Honorable Mention Team.
Those six players helped lead a young Peoples team to a 10-5 final record, and the team reached the Division 3 quarterfinals before bowing out of the postseason.
The all-star teams for the Capital League — one of the toughest in the state, loaded with Division 2 squads — and the all-state team are selected by a vote of the coaches in the league and division.
Yando, up and back
For the versatile Yando, her senior season was a tale of two halves. She was a starter on defense for three seasons, but moved up to play in the midfield and at striker this season. She led the team in scoring for the first half of the year.
Then, as Peoples got into the thick of its Capital League schedule, coach Jim Eisenhardt moved Yando back to her former position, sweeper, on defense where she excelled yet again.
“She had a wonderful season, and really carried us,” Eisenhardt said. “She controlled our defense.”
Yando’s playmaking ability and steady hand helped the Wolves pull off a major upset in the last game of the regular season: a 1-0 victory over previously unbeaten Montpelier, a D-2 juggernaut this year.
“That was a big win for us, and she was a big part of that,” her coach said.
For the season, Yando still finished second on the team with nine goals and led the team with 12 assists.
Pierce to midfield
Like Yando, Pierce switched positions this year.
The senior had been a stalwart in goal for Peoples for three years, but the arrival of Josie Simone meant Pierce — who had played a bit on the field earlier in her career — was free to commit to playing there full time.
“She went into the midfield, primarily, and did an outstanding job,” Eisenhardt said. “She’s a great athlete and leader.”
Pierce finished her senior campaign with five goals and seven assists.
Craig was one of several Wolves defenders to make the all-league teams, and the senior was “a big part of what we were able to accomplish for being such a young team,” Eisenhardt said.
“She has such a great work ethic, and is a great leader in the back,” he said.
Eisenhardt wasn’t sure what to expect this year with a roster strewn with underclassmen, but the leadership of the team’s seniors proved key as the Wolves reached double digits in the win column.
• Carlson and Osborne were also major contributors on defense for the Wolves.
Eisenhardt thought Osborne “was our most improved player this year.”
Carlson was asked to play several positions this season.
“She’s a flexible player, and at times we needed her in different spots,” Eisenhardt said, but she really found her home as a fullback, playing central back early in the year with Osborne and then moving out wide when Yando moved back to defense.
Both his outside backs “were able to make runs up, get involved in the attack, and both loved it,” Eisenhardt said.
• The Wolves’ final all-star, Simone, stepped in to fill Pierce’s shoes as the goaltender, and did an admirable job.
“I don’t know who would have filled Paige’s role in the midfield if Josie didn’t let her get out there,” Eisenhardt said. The freshman played every minute in goal this season, as the Wolves recorded five shutouts and gave up just one goal in four other games.
“Josie is an outstanding competitor. She’s brave, she’s a hard worker and had a great attitude,” Eisenhardt said. “We get her for three more years; that’s really exciting.”