In three victories by the Wallenpaupack girls soccer team, junior Rachael Tirjan had 9 goals and 2 assists. She scored twice, including the game-winner in OT, against Lakeland in the Kotula Classic semifinals; had four goals and an assist in the Kotula final against Holy Cross; and netted a hat trick and an assist in the Lackawanna League opener against North Pocono.
Here’s more from Tirjan’s Athlete of the Week interview:
Other sports I play: Basketball, softball
Favorite teams: Pittsburgh Steelers, Penn State football
Favorite food: Watermelon
Superstitions and rituals: Every school day I have the same food before a game — a peanut butter sandwich and an apple. Mostly, I just focus before the game and try not to get too nervous.
Describe your game-winning goal in OT against Lakeland in the Kotula Classic: Jamie Falgie made a nice save along the side. I think it was Hanna Whaley who made a nice pass to me. I just took it across the field and shot far post.
How does it feel to score the winning goal in OT: It’s really exciting, especially when all of your teammates come over to hug you and give you high-fives. We knew that was going to be a big game, too. So just to be in that position to get it done is really rewarding.
How were you able to score your hat trick against North Pocono? In the first half, my shots weren’t really what I wanted. But at halftime I just focused and went out with a clear head in the second half. The first one was a PK (penalty kick) and the second one I was able to beat some girls down the sideline.
How does winning the league opener give the team confidence for the rest of the season? It was good to get a win in our first home game. That was the second time we played North Pocono; we also played them in the Kotula. North Pocono always plays hard and they have a good goal scorer with Lacey (Rinaldi). So we just had to shut her down.
When did you first start playing soccer? Probably when I was 4 years old, so I’ve been playing about 13 years. My dad was always a big soccer person and he started coaching us at the park by our house. I just fell in love with it.
Score the game-winning goal in soccer; hit the game-winning shot in basketball; hit the game-winning home run in softball. What would you rather do and why? Game-winning goal in soccer. I would just reassure all the hard work that I put into this sport — in the offseason and on travel teams.
Post-graduation plans: I definitely want to play soccer in college and go into the medical field.