NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

October 13, 2012

Newburyport defensive backs lift soccer team

They work the D like Jekyll and Hyde.

Newburyport girls soccer co-captains and center backs, senior Jackie Krusemark and junior Aly Leahy, have played defense together since youth soccer, but their styles couldn’t be further apart.

“In terms of personalities, they’re night and day,” says Clippers co-coach Rob Gonnam. “Aly is the verbally demanding one, and Jackie is the quiet one. I don’t care how or why, it just works.”

The chemistry has worked well enough that the Clippers are 10-1-1 with six shutouts. But Krusemark and Leahy have had to rebuild their system this year after graduating Nicki Galer and Meghan Corbett last spring. This season, they’ve had to bring in some new talent, freshman Delaney Bartol and junior Jess Schneider, and get them up to speed.

“I think the fact that me and Aly have been together (for so long), we’re so comfortable with each other that it made it easier to make the transition with other people,” says Krusemark. “It wasn’t totally starting from scratch.”

“It was a pretty pain-free process,” says Leahy. “Everyone who came in stepped up and did what they needed to do, so we didn’t really have any problems.”

As far as Gonnam sees it, the big reason it has worked out are these two players.

“That’s why they were elected captains,” Gonnam says of Krusemark and Leahy. “There is a high level of maturity. If they were both real verbal, they might tend to nullify each other to some degree. But (Aly) has always been the dominant one, and Jackie is the one who tends to go forward, especially now that she has the better touch on the ball. She is the one that goes forward, steps up, takes a little more risk. Aly will drop back and that’s something we’ve worked out. They’ve never discussed that.”

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