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Athletic Hall of Fame Spotlight: 1992 Girls Soccer Team

Winning one championship is an outstanding feat for any high school sports team. The girls who played varsity soccer for St. Andrew’s from 1989 to 1992 brought home eight: four PVAC regular season titles, and four PVAC tournament championships.
The 1992-1993 girls varsity soccer team, which included many student athletes who played all four years, will be inducted into the St. Andrew’s Athletic Hall of Fame on October 13 as part of the 40th Anniversary Reunion Weekend. The third class of Hall of Fame honorees, which include the team, standout athlete James Ryan ‘98, and Coach Ginger Walsh Cobb. will be recognized during the Celebration Dinner on Lion’s Court.
“I think that season for them represented years of their own playing together and developing their particular athleticism,” said coach Lisa Pence. “These girls were competitive in the most healthy way, and they were truly gracious sportswomen. I don’t think there was a moment that any of them was unsportsmanlike on the field; they would not have allowed that in one another.”
The team had been coached for five seasons by Cobb before Pence arrived in 1992, winning three regular season titles and three tournament championships under her leadership. Torie (Castiello) Ketcham ’93 said the girls appreciated Pence’s approach to coaching the team.
“She encouraged what we were already doing, encouraged us to continue growing together as a team as we had been doing,” Ketcham said. “She added here and there and put her mark on things, but it wasn’t some big change because there wasn’t a huge need for a change. We were working hard together and we were motivated and confident. She applied her leadership to that.”
Former players agree that the team’s secret to success was their camaraderie and friendship on and off the field.
“I think we had a good understanding of how we played together and what we expected of each other,” said Lexa (Castiello) Gandolfo ’93. “There was no getting-to-know-you period. We clicked because we had been doing it for a while.”
“We all really, truly got along. There were no divisions, no cliques that I remember,” Ketcham added. “We were all just friends or at least friendly. We wanted to do the best we could. We had a lot of good athletes but not a lot of ego, which was nice.”
A Washington Post article previewing the 1992 PVAC tournament suggested St. Andrew’s was a formidable foe against other area soccer teams – not surprising since they had outscored league opponents 47-1. “Under Pence so far,” writes Donald Huff, “domination has been an understatement to describe how the Bethesda school has treated opponents.”
Pence said the girls won their tournament matches handily – “there was not a lot of suspense,” she noted – but they weren’t trying to crush the other teams. “Other coaches recognized this team was just that good,” she said.
The team was a group of natural athletes who collectively displayed exceptional soccer skills, Pence said, a team she remembers vividly as having “this indefatigable positive spirit and a lot of laughter.”
Gandolfo, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame for her individual accomplishments in 2016, said the upcoming team recognition is special.
“These girls weren’t just my teammates; they were my friends,” she said. “To have something we collectively accomplished and be recognized for it is really important. Soccer is the utmost team game.”
Team members included Lexa Castiello ‘93, Torie Castiello ‘93, Joan Colbert ‘93, Susie Crespo ‘93, Missy Dye ‘93, Carmody Gaba ‘93, Sarah McDowell ‘93, Jane Schmidt ‘93, Jenny Wise ‘93, Stacey Alfandre ‘94, Jenny Benson ‘94, Amy Collea ‘94, Joslyne Decker ‘94, Katherine O'Kieffe ‘94, Camila Sosman ‘94, Valerie Unger ‘94, Katie Winder, and Desiree Polyak.
St. Andrew’s Episcopal School is a private, coeducational college preparatory day school for students in preschool (Age 2) through grade 12, located in Potomac, Maryland.