Metamora High School Girls Soccer Feature
When Anna Gualandri went down with a knee injury last year, Metamora coach Danny Driscoll lost one of his top defenders.
But, he gained an extra assistant coach.
“When Anna was out last year (with a knee injury), she took on extra responsibility. Some kids would have just sat on the bench and cheered, but Anna was like another coach. She worked with the players on defense, and they treated her like a coach in practice and during the games,” Driscoll said. “She’s that type of kid. She’s a leader, and everybody respects her.”
Gualandri has recovered from the injury, so she won’t be spending much (if any) time next to Driscoll on the bench this year.
That’s fine with her.
“It’s so good to be back,” she said after an 8-0 win over Canton March 27. “I’ve been working hard and waiting for this season to start for a long time. I’m looking forward to my senior year. Plus, we have a very good team this year. It’s a great group of girls”
Gualandri and Driscoll said this summer was the most productive they’ve ever seen in their time around the Metamora girls soccer program.
Players worked three days a week all summer. More emphasis (with first-year assistant coach Elizabeth Sinclair) was placed on offensive ball skills.
“We worked hard,” Gualandri said. “We developed a lot of team chemistry, and we feel like we’re a much better team to show for it.”
Gualandri said the Redbirds’ back line, which includes fellow senior Lily Costello, will be one of the best in the conference.
“Last year, when I was out, Lily took over,” she said. “She’s a great player and another leader of our team. All the seniors do everything together. I’ll take charge when I have to, but all the seniors are great leaders.”
Soccer wins out
Gualandri, a three-sport athlete (basketball, volleyball and soccer) started playing soccer when she was in first grade.
She played on the Metamora varsity team since she was a freshman, but her entire junior season was lost after she injured her knee.
At a practice last spring, she took an awkward pivot and dislocated her knee cap. Actually, it practically tore the knee cap off.
“I couldn’t even bend my knee for about three weeks,” she said. “It was pretty painful. I went to physical therapy every other day and had to wear a brace that whole summer. It feels good now, though. It feels really good to be back.”
She made it back in time to lead the Metamora volleyball team to a Sectional title last fall. She then played point guard for the basketball team in the winter.
“She’s a really sweet girl,” said Metamora volleyball coach Karla Bartman. “She’s pretty laid back, but she’s very competitive. She’s not flashy, but she’s confident ... She didn’t get to play as much as a junior, but she never got down. She stuck with it and worked hard. She’s also got a pretty good sense of humor. Just out of the blue, she’ll make you laugh. I really enjoyed having her in our program.”
Gualandri could have played college volleyball, but she decided to sign with Loras College (Dubuque, Iowa) to play soccer, which she said is her favorite of the three sports.
“Over the past year, I’ve really dedicated myself to soccer a lot more,” she said. “They (Loras) have a great program there, and I’m looking forward to playing at the next level.”
Loras went 18-3-1 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament last year.
Gualandri, a high honor roll student, will major in accounting.
Driscoll said he expects Gualandri to become a very good college soccer player.
“She’s very talented, and she knows the game really well,” he said. “I’m proud of what she has accomplished, and I know she’ll do great at the next level.”