2021 Girls First XI Football – Preview

The 2021 Wellington secondary girls football season kicks off this month with the first round of grading matches played last Wednesday and the second round this week.

The top eight teams play for the Regional Premier 1 Capital Football Trophy, with the Premier 1 and 2 Finals set down for 18 August and NZF secondary school tournaments in Winter Tournament Week from 30 August-3 September.

Recapping last season, Wellington Girls’ College are the defending champions, beating Wellington East Girls’ College 2-0 in the final.

Onslow College beat Hutt Valley High School 4-1 in the playoff for third and fourth.

Wellington Girls’ and Wellington East finished joint top of the regular season points table, with six wins and a draw each from their seven league matches. The drawn match was against each other – a 2-2 result.

The other schools in the top eight Premier league in 2020 were St Mary’s College, Samuel Marsden Collegiate, Sacred Heart College and Paraparaumu College.

The Premier 2 Onslow Cup saw Newlands College beat Wellington High School 1-0 in the final and WEGC 2 beat WGC 2 3-2 in the 3rd v 4th match.

Some players to watch this season below (in no particular order):

Maddi Hoult (Sacred Heart College, Lower Hutt): Maddi Hoult is one of the younger players in Sacred Heart’s squad, but you would not know that having watched her play and train. A versatile player, she has excited the coaching staff from trial one to present day. She is a workhorse on the park, uses her voice incredibly well considering her juniority, and her skills and decision making are excellent. Touted as a future captain of her school and a representative player outside of school down the track.

Sammi Preval (Wellington East Girls’ College): Attacking midfielder Sammi has been in the WEGC First XI since year 9. Sammi is a playmaker on the field with a good work ethic and brings intensity and aggression to every game she plays. She aspires to be a leader of her sides too. She recently captained her school’s senior futsal team, which won the 2021 NZSS futsal title. She plays for the Wellington United Diamonds in the W-league and has represented Capital Football at National Age Group Tournaments. She was also selected for the NZSS U16 Girls’ Football Team that was due to go to the USA in 2020.

Eliza O’Donnell (Wellington Girls’ College): Seventeen-year-old Eliza is a centre back or fullback and is starting her fourth season in the Wellington Girls’ First XI. She currently captains the Wellington Sapphires team and has grown into a leadership role. A quick, positive team player on and off the field, a very good distributor of the ball off either foot, or showing new tricks which will prove useful in her larger involvement in team strategy this year as the WGC look to defend their title. Has yet to fully back her own strengths so coach Ben Frean is looking forward to seeing the full influence she is capable of.

Brooke Tidy, Bailee Deller and Leah Marsden (all three Paraparaumu College): All three players were selected into the 1st XI in year 9 so have been playing in the team for four and five seasons. All three play in the Kapiti Coast United women’s team. The trio will be crucial for Paraparaumu College’s team this year as they are the most experienced players and will be key as individuals and together in guiding the other team members this season if they can push their Capital Football Trophy credentials.

Nicola Ross and Pepi Olliver-Bell (both Onslow College): Nicola is in Year 13 and has been a part of the 1st XI since Year 9. She is an attacking player with a keen eye for scoring goals. She was the second top scorer in the Premier 1 competition in 2020 with 14 goals, just pipped by her teammate Olivia Ingham who is playing with the Phoenix this year. Nicola also plays for the Karori W-League team. She is joined in the 1st XI by her twin sister Hannah and her Year 9 sister Kate in 2021.Pepi is in Year 12 and plays a midfield role for Onslow and started in the 1st XI in Year 9. She has great vision and is a tireless worker in the midfield, getting back and helping in defence, as well as delivering great passes to set up our attacking players and when the opportunity arises taking the opportunity herself to attack the goal. Pepi also plays for Wellington United in the W-League.

Sofia George (Samuel Marsden Collegiate): Year 11 Sofia George has been playing in Marsden’s First XI since year nine and was the top goal scorer for Marsden in last year’s Premier 1 league. She plays club football for Wellington United, between the mixed grade and women’s Twisters, Sapphires and Opals teams and was selected for the Capital Football Talent Acceleration Programme and has been selected to represent Wellington United in the 2021 Coastal Spirit Under 19 National tournament. She was also captain of the 2020 Marsden Futsal team that won the Wellington Junior Secondary Schools competition in 2020. With a passion for the game, Sofia’s strengths are her creative passing, rolling defenders, and finishing. She has strong vision and awareness of the game. A physical player with good body positioning and strength on the ball.

Samantha Woolley (Queen Margaret College): Year 13 player and this year’s QMC captain Samantha had been playing football since she was 5, having started at Eastbourne AFC and having played for Wellington United AFC for the past five years and for Palmerston North Marist and now the Wellington United Diamonds for the past three years in the W league. A regular NZ U17 football camp attended since 2018 and in her school’s First XI since year 9 and played in the NAGT tournament 2017, 2018, 2019, captaining wellington in 2017, and in 2018 when the team won the tournament. Played in the ISPS Handa Womens Premiership for Central team in 2019 and 2020.

Alyssha Eglinton (Hutt Valley High School): Alyssha Eglinton has represented Hutt Valley High in the first XI since she was year 9, as an attacking midfielder. Up until this year, Alyssha played for Petone in the mixed U15 side. This year Alyssha has been selected in the U15 Phoenix Academy. In the future, Alyssha would like to continue with her football journey and her goal is to represent New Zealand. Favourite player – Rosie White

Eve Bayliss and Ronelle Pieterse (both Newlands College): Eve Bayliss is Newlands College captain this year and Ronelle Pieterse vice-captain. Midfielder Eve has great ball control, and she quickly visualises and reads the game and creates situations to enable her teammates to be successful – she creates so many chances.  Eve’s workrate and stamina is super high, and she always leads by example; handling pressure well and never giving up in times of adversity. Eve is passionate about the game and says that she ” is inspired by her brother Luke and like him, would love to get a chance to join a youth team in England.” Centre back Ronelle is the heart of the backline. She is nippy on the field, unafraid when the game gets physical and is quick to respond to danger moments in the play; she makes the team feel secure. She regularly takes corners and has great power and accuracy when a long-range shot is needed. Eve plays club football for Seatoun AFC and Ronelle for North Wellington.

-Story Courtesy of College Sport Media