The Pilgrim girls’ soccer team had one its best seasons in a long time this past fall, advancing all the way to the Division II semifinals.
It should come as no surprise, then, that the Pats also had one of the state’s best players leading the charge.
Sophomore Katie Vieira, in her second year as a full-time varsity player, was fifth in the state with 34 points. She scored 20 goals, added 14 assists and gave Pilgrim as consistent a scoring option up front as the division had to offer.
“She’s the first player I’ve had in a long time that just has a nose for scoring,” Pilgrim head coach Mike Weber said. “She’s gifted with tremendous foot skills and vision.”
With Vieira’s help, the Pats were tied with Exeter-West Greenwich as the highest-scoring team in Division II.
Her output – and the team’s – is made more impressive given the added attention she received after her breakout freshman season in 2011. In a hurry, teams were well aware of who Katie Vieira was, and they set out to not let her beat them.
“I was getting two-manned in specific games, especially when we were playing the higher seeded teams like Exeter/West Greenwich, I had two or three girls on me,” Vieira said. “I just had to stick it out and adjust to it.”
The positive in that approach was that Vieira was not afraid to pass the ball to a better scoring option. If she was double-teamed, that meant someone else was open, and more often than not she would find them.
“Not only could she score, but she was willing to give up the ball to a better option,” Weber said. “She’s a total team player, and she just has a nose for the net.”
Next season, Vieira will be a captain on the team in her junior year and be looked upon to handle even more of the scoring load, as Pilgrim is losing a large number of seniors due to graduation, and Weber is stepping down as head coach.
That leaves Vieira as the most important constant from last year into this fall.
“It’s my job as a captain and one of the leading goal scorers on the team to help the other girls get better and help the new girls on the team know what it’s like to play varsity soccer,” Vieira said.
She should be able to set a pretty solid example.
“It was very nice to have her play for me for the two years that she was there,” Weber said. “I think over the next two years she’s going to score a lot of goals.”