NEW ROVIDENCE, NJ - NPHS junior Maddy Engelbrechtsen is named the Joe Eberle Weichert Realtors Pioneer Athlete of the Week for scoring the first season goal for the Pioneers girls varsity soccer team. This first half goal was the necessary offensive spark of confidence the team needed in the 3-0 victory over Bloomfield.

Each week throughout the school athletic year, a New Providence Pioneer athlete or athletes will be honored for distinguishing themselves in the arena of competition, in the classroom, and for demonstrating exemplary sportsmanship and leadership qualities. 

The Lady Pioneers were in need of a boost, and Engelbrechtsen's opening goal in the 3-0 shutout over Bloomfield was a much-needed morale boost for the team.

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"I did feel a confidence boost after this great win," said Engelbrechtsen. "After coming off a tough 2-0 loss to ALJ, this win is hopefully helping us get back into our groove."

The game started as a defensive stalemate. Engelbrechtsen along with her teammates felt an offensive shift midway through the first half when they started to find more opportunities to go towards the goal. Right winger, Sophia Marniello, lobbed the ball towards Engelbrechtsen, who was 20 yards out. She settled the ball and slid past the goalie to cash in the first season goal. 

"Scoring the first goal of the season felt great because it turned the game into a great direction," Engelbrechtsen said. "The momentum of the first goal inspired two more and sparked a strong Pioneer pride among all of us."

As a team, the Lady Pioneers continued to play short passes, moving around the Bloomfield defense. "We began to place through balls behind their defense, ultimately breaking them down and opening up new opportunities to score," said Engelbrechtsen. Olivia Faucher and Kavita Parekh scored the second and third goal, respectively, in the 3-0 win.

Coach Scott Murphy Comments on Maddy Engelbrechtsen:

Maddy is one of the girls we are looking at to score goals for us. She was the leading goal scorer for us last season and we are looking for her to eclipse last years tally. She has a good ability to put herself in a position to generate an opportunity on net (for herself and her teammates). Maddy is more quiet (not too vocal) during training and games where her play is what she uses as a motivator for the team.  

Below are comments from Maddy regarding her past, present and future:

TAPinto: What are your goals for the season?

Maddy:  One of my biggest goals of this season is to advance to the sectional final. After coming close the past two years, I truly believe this squad is capable of moving on in states and really making an impact.

TAPinto: What was the best advice you got from a coach?

Maddy: The best advice I’ve ever gotten from a coach is to look up and see the field. It sounds very basic, but it’s actually a great lesson that’s helped me succeed. When you look up at the field and stop focusing at the ball at your feet, you’re able to see plays in the making and even make runs before the other team is able to catch on. Being able to see the field as a whole is a great tactic and opens your horizons to new opportunities.

TAPinto: How do you view your leadership role on this year's team?

Maddy: This year I’m trying to take a strong leadership role on the team. We have great senior captains who are able to encourage the team and set a solid tone, and I hope to follow them. My goal is to encourage the rest of my teammates throughout each game and give feedback when something needs a change. I think it is very important to have upperclassmen leaders who anyone can talk to collaborate openly with.

TAPinto: Do you want to play at the collegiate level?

Maddy: I’m not quite sure if I want to play in college, but i’m not ruling it out quite yet. Division 1 soccer feels too much of a commitment because I want to go to a good academic school and set myself up for a good future. If the right opportunity comes, I would play Division 3 soccer at a great academic school that I wouldn’t necessarily be able to get into with the help of soccer.

TAPinto: What do you like the most about NPHS?

Maddy: My favorite part of NPHS is Pioneer pride. We’re a small school but we all support each other whether it’s football games, basketball, or any other sport at the school.

TAPinto: What do you like doing when not playing sports?

Maddy: When I’m not playing sports, I love spending time with my friends and family.

TAPinto: Who inspires you most in life?

Maddy: My parents probably inspire me most in life. They are always trying to make me a better person and giving me great advice. Whether I’m stressed about school and or had a bad game they always try to keep my head up.

TAPinto: If you could do anything in the world, what would it be?

Maddy: If I could do anything, I would probably want to travel the world. I’ve been on some great family vacations and I’ve seen some amazing places and there’s so much more I wanna experience. 

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The Joe Eberle Weichert Realtors Pioneer Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Joe Eberle Weichert Realtors located at 64 Main Street in Chatham.  Joe is a 25 year New Providence resident who is an active member of the New Providence community. Contact Joe anytime, whether it's to get started on helping you realize your real estate goals and dreams, or just to ask a question about the local market.  Joe can be reached at jeberle@weichert.com or call 908-868-4800