Déjà vu as girls’ varsity soccer triumphs against Mills


Michelle Moshkovoy

Freshman right back Ren Tsunehara helped lead a lock-down defense and consistently pushed the ball up in girls’ varsity soccer’s game on Nov. 29.

Michelle Moshkovoy, Sports Editor

Last year, girls’ varsity soccer came out firing 11-0 against Mills High School in its season opener. This year was no different, as the Panthers cruised to an identical blowout victory over the Vikings on Nov. 29.

The Panthers’ veteran upperclassmen led the team’s dominance from the literal opening whistle. Within the first minute, senior center forward Jamie Callantine crossed the ball from near the right corner to junior left wing Kaylee Ng, who headed the ball into the net to put Burlingame up 1-0.

Just past six minutes, junior center midfielder Cora Haggarty scored the first goal of her hattrick off a left post deflection from Ng. Four minutes later, junior left back Elise Spenner added to the scoring festivities on a cross from right midfield Josie Lacrosse. While the barrage of Burlingame goals seemed all too familiar, the team that scored them couldn’t have been more different. 

This year, seven eager freshmen sat on the bench — last year, the number was zero. At 21 minutes, head coach Philip De Rosa substituted in freshmen Mika Haggarty, Gaelle Foy and Stella Newman for their first taste of varsity play. Freshman Sophia Mausehund joined them seven minutes later. 

“It was really nerve-racking at first, but I was more excited to play because I’ve been ready for this competition,” Mika Haggarty said. “We’ve been playing together for the past month, so it was good to get out on the field together.”

The 29-minute mark would spark the Panthers’ final first-half scoring run. Senior central midfielder Olivia Mausehund, who joined Haggarty to finish the night with a hattrick, scored near the penalty area that met the left corner of the net. Within a four minute span, she found the net again off a pass from Mika Haggarty and freshman Stella Newman added on with her first high school career goal. 

The Panthers kept their foot on the gas in the second half, exhibiting much of the same unrelenting offense. At 54 minutes, senior right forward Josie Fontana scored an impressive distant goal at a sharp angle in the right corner.

But despite the Panthers’ lockdown mentality, there was a promising atmosphere of camaraderie. The Haggarty sisters played together seamlessly — as if they were, well, sisters — and Mika found a wide-open Cora at the 20-yard line for Burlingame’s ninth goal of the match.

The Panthers gather around for their first pre-game pep talk of the season on Nov. 29. (Michelle Moshkovoy)

“Before the game we were really looking forward to [and saying], ‘I’m gonna play you — I’m gonna play you, we gotta score together,” Mika Haggarty said, as she replayed the play. “Cora was very vocal, and when I just looked up, I saw her and played it to her. The goalie was pretty far out, so it was easy for her to shoot.” 

Cora Haggarty, Olivia Mausehund and Foy, who lit up the bench and crowd with the first goal of her high school career, would round out the scoring in the final minutes, sealing Burlingame’s 11-0 victory.

De Rosa credited the Panthers’ natural chemistry on and off the field with enabling every player to contribute to the victory against Mills.   

“There’s a mutual respect both ways and that bodes well,” De Rosa said. “As the coach, I’m constantly monitoring and making sure that everyone’s getting along…[it’s been seamless], and that’s the way it seems right now. Very, very pleased.” 

However, De Rosa and the team know that the rest of their preseason schedule won’t be so easy. He strategically used the game to test players in different positions, which should prepare the Panthers for a more competitive match in the Firebird Classic on Saturday, Dec. 3.

On Saturday, Burlingame will play without Cora Haggarty and freshman Ren Tsunehara against Wilcox High School — a team that had a 10-6-2 overall record last season in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League.

“Starting Saturday, it’s going to be a whole different game, so the kids really need to know how to play,” De Rosa said. “I’m pleased with the way that they’re working together. My job is in a short period of time, to get these 17 or 18 girls from diverse teams with diverse skills…to become a team here. This is the beginning of establishing a team.”