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Cardinal O’Hara girls soccer team 10th in state ranking

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Jillian Phillips, of Cardinal O’Hara’s Lady Hawks soccer team, goes for the ball and shows why her team was named 10th best high school soccer team in New York. Photo courtesy of Cardinal O’Hara High School

TONAWANDA — The Cardinal O’Hara High School girls soccer team has been ranked 10th in New York Catholic girls soccer team rankings, by MaxPreps,America’s source for high school sports.

In addition, the team is ranked 126th for all the state high school girls soccer teams.

Jillian Phillips, two-year captain of the team, said, “It’s really amazing that we were champions three of my four years at O’Hara. We’re tight knit, communicate with each other, and trust each other.”

In her senior year, Phillips scored 12 goals and three assists and was named league MVP. She was also named Monsignor Martin Class B Player of the Year and first team All-Catholic.

The team record this season was 8-1-1 in league and 8-0-1 overall.

Among the top players on the team are Julia Harrington, Kirstin Gundell, Jackie Appenheimer and Sydney Mountain, goalkeeper. 

“I encouraged Sydney to play soccer as she was a volleyball star and had never played soccer,” Phillips said. She was invaluable as a goalie and especially as a first-year player. Her sister, who was a goalie in her years at O’Hara, gave her pointers and was a mentor.”

Phillips herself began playing in first grade at Christian Central and played on a travel team. 

“Because our (Cardinal O’Hara) team was undefeated in league games, we got to know each other so well. As for next year when the team loses its seniors, I have high hopes and I think the team will have a strong defense,” she added.

Tony Pulvirenti, athletic director at Cardinal O’Hara, congratulated the team on its outstanding year and recent rankings.

“It’s a great honor for our girls soccer team and the school and we are very proud of the season the Lady Hawks played,” he said. 

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