NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ -- It has been a season of transition for Maddy Engelbrechtsen of the New Providence girls soccer team.
After being depended upon for offense most of her career, the senior was shifted to the back line to bolster the defense this season. But, as was evidenced last week, when Pioneers coach Scott Murphy really needs her offensive firepower, Engelbrechtsen can still come through.
She did so with a tiebreaking goal in a 2-1 victory over A.L. Johnson, which helped earn Engelbrechtsen recognition as the TAPinto New Providence Athlete of the Week.
"Maddy is a four-year varsity player and a captain this year," Murphy said. "Her first three years, she played forward, and was our leading goal-scorer last season. This year, we moved her back to center defense, as we felt that was the best for the team. And Maddy was accepting of that move."
The shift was not as huge an adjustment as it might have been for some players, because of Engelbrechtsen's experience playing the back line on other teams.
"My game has changed a lot from last year because I played forward for the past three years and now I'm playing center defense," Engelbrechtsen said. "I'm enjoying the switch because I play center defense for my club team, but I also get the chance to attack still. During the games I often go up through the midfield and attack or play forward at the end of the game when we need a goal."
The decider against Johnson came with 15 minutes left, after she had also helped on the Pioneers' first goal of the game by Amy Maurer. The victory broke a three-game winless streak for New Providence.
"My most memorable game was last week against Johnson because we won, 2-1, against a much bigger school that New Providence hasn't beaten in a while," she said. "We were tied, 1-1, with a couple minutes left and I scored to make it 2-1. This was really memorable because it was a great celebration with my team and great end to a tough week."
New Providence (6-3-2) has allowed just six goals in its last eight games with Engelbrechtsen anchoring the back line.
"Maddy has been a great player for us during her career, and we are expecting that to continue for the rest of the season," Murphy said.
While Engelbrechtsen has made her own distinct mark on New Providence High School, she's also happy to partake in everything else the school and its sports programs have to offer.
"My favorite part of NPHS is the school spirit when it comes to sports, especially football games," she said. "Friday Night lights is really fun at our school because we have such an exciting and loud student section and the atmosphere is really great."
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 email@example.com or call 908-868-4800.