Deer Lakes’ Madeline Boulos named Valley News Dispatch Girls Soccer Player of the Year
By: Doug Gulasy
Saturday, December 1, 2018 | 4:33 PM
Valley News Dispatch Girls Soccer Player of the Year
Deer Lakes, freshman, forward
Madeline Boulos was one of the youngest players on Deer Lakes’ girls soccer team this fall, but she quickly became one of the most important, too.
The Lancers leaned into their youth movement the last two seasons, and Boulos exemplifies the success of that philosophy. The freshman striker led Deer Lakes in scoring with 24 goals and 16 assists. Several times she showed a knack for coming through in timely moments, including a game-winning overtime goal in a key Section 2-AA victory over Burrell.
Deer Lakes rode its youthful roster to the best season in school history. The Lancers went perfect in section play to earn their first title and then advanced to the WPIAL semifinals for the first time in a decade. They ultimately fell one victory shy of earning a trip to the PIAA soccer playoffs.
A powerful offense keyed Deer Lakes’ charge this fall; Boulos provided the most goals, but sophomores Abigail Boulos — Madeline’s older sister — Nina Lafko and Lily Litrun all proved capable of putting the ball in the back of the net, too.
Boulos earned all-section and all-WPIAL honors for her contributions to Deer Lakes’ success, and the accolades won’t stop there: She was named the Valley News Dispatch Girls Soccer Player of the Year, edging out Litrun and Freeport star Sidney Shemanski for the honor.
With three seasons remaining at Deer Lakes, Boulos figures to have plenty of goals left in her — both on and off the field. Before that, however, she answered some questions about a memorable freshman season.
How would you describe the season overall?
This year was definitely a special one because this is the first time in our school history that we’ve ever been section champions for our school, so it was really nice to get that recognition because we all worked very hard throughout the season, we always gave 100 percent in our practices and our games. I think our team, we’re like a family, so I’m glad that we were able to get the opportunity.
What did it mean to win the first section title in school history?
Most of us have played together since we were really little kids, so we work really well together, and we’re also like a little family. So the success is really happy, and I’m glad that’s how it turned out.
What do you think it’ll be like to see that banner in the gym?
I’m so excited. I know last year some of the girls were disappointed because they didn’t do as well as they planned to, so now that we did a lot better this year, just seeing the banner is going to show our success. I’m really proud.
Were there any especially memorable games?
Probably the first time we played Burrell because that was a very hard game; we had never beat Burrell for I believe three years, and when we were finally able to beat them in overtime, it was really exciting and enjoyable. We felt really good about it.
What was it like becoming such a big part of the team as a freshman?
Coming in as a freshman, all the girls were really supportive, and they were really welcoming to me. I have great teammates that surround me and two great coaches, one of them actually being my dad (assistant Jeff Boulos). He’s been my coach since I was really little, and I felt like I had to prove myself since I was coming in as a freshman. But all the girls, they were just so nice and we worked together really well.
If I’d told you before the year you would have scored 24 goals, what would you have thought?
I mean, it’s kind of unbelievable to think about. But just working really hard and doing my goals, I’m really committed to it, and I’m glad that the hard work paid off.
What was it like to be part of this Deer Lakes offense?
It’s really nice having all the other girls on the team, especially my sister, because we’ve played together since we were little and just having her back on the other side of the field, it’s pretty much like we know each other’s game play. We can anticipate what the other is going to do. It’s nice having her over there so we know how to set each other up, and how to set up all the other players to try to get the ball in the back of the net.
What is your relationship like with your sister?
I just love having her play with me because we get along together really well. And again, we know how each other play, we can read each other on and off the field. It’s just really nice having her with me.
What is your best skill as a player?
My strongest skill is probably my speed and being able to get around the defenders quickly. From there, I can either score or assist.
Did you have an especially memorable goal you scored?
Probably the game-wining goal against Burrell in overtime the first time we played them because that was a really tough game, and all of us were really emotional. After the ball went in the back of the net, we were all so overjoyed because that was the end of the game and we knew we won.
Knowing this team is so young, what are the goals moving forward?
There’s always opportunities for us to improve since we are so young. I am looking forward to further years with this team because we are young, we have more years to continue to work hard so that we are able to improve ourselves. Unfortunately, we lost in some of our games, but we always have room for improvement, and I can’t wait to get started.
Do you have any soccer role models?
Probably my role model is (English star) Harry Kane because he plays for (Tottenham) Hotspur, because that’s also my Cup team and I love to watch the professional team play. His game play is somewhat similar to mine, so that’s an inspiration.
How closely do you follow international or professional soccer?
Sometimes since my dad is the coach for Hotspur, as well, he’ll record some of the (Premier League) games on TV when I might not be at home to be able to watch them. I’ll go back and watch their games and kind of look at how they play.
Do you hope to play in college eventually?
I’m looking to, yes.
What are your hobbies outside of soccer?
When I’m not playing soccer, I take my academics very seriously. I spend a lot of time on my schoolwork, and just focusing on getting good grades. But when I’m not doing any of those, I’m usually spending time with my friends, whether it’s shopping, going to the movies or just hanging out. But I especially love going to Olive Garden.
Do you have a go-to menu item?
I always get the unlimited wedding soup.
How was Thanksgiving in your house?
Thanksgiving was very nice. I always love spending time with my family.
What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish?
My favorite are probably the croissants.
Did you do Black Friday shopping?
Yes. It was really, really crowded, so it’s hard to get the things you want to get. But it was a fun experience.
Did you get any good deals?
Yes. I guess all the clothes, that’s pretty much what I look at on Black Friday.
What’s your No. 1 wish for Christmas?
I’m looking to get a camera because I like to take pictures of things. I wanted to get a nice camera so I can do more photography.
Any idea what you want to do as a career?
I’m looking to be a physician assistant.
So do you like science classes at school, then?
Yeah, my favorite two subjects are math and science.
First team all-stars
Abigail Boulos, Deer Lakes, so., M
A big playmaker in an explosive Deer Lakes offense, Boulos tied for the team lead with 16 assists and contributed 12 goals of her own.
Skylar Dale, Burrell, sr., M
One of a trio of top scorers for WPIAL quarterfinalist Bucs, Dale registered 14 goals and added a team-high nine assists.
Reagan Frederick, Kiski Area, jr., F
All-WPIAL forward took over top scoring duties for the Cavaliers, finding the back of the net 21 times for WPIAL quarterfinalists.
Lindsie Galbreath, Knoch, sr., M
Cal (Pa.) recruit will graduate as Knights’ all-time leading scorer with 82 goals and 112 points. She tallied 29 goals and 14 assists this season.
Sydni Henley, Springdale, sr., M
Dynamic midfielder led WPIAL quarterfinalist Springdale with 12 goals and eight assists, earning all-WPIAL honors.
Jordyn Kowalkowski, Burrell, so., M
All-WPIAL selection scored a team-high 18 goals, including game-winner in first round of WPIAL playoffs against Yough.
Nina Lafko, Deer Lakes, so., M
A team captain as a sophomore, Lafko controlled the midfield and contributed 11 goals in Lancers’ run to WPIAL semifinals.
Lily Litrun, Deer Lakes, so., F
The all-WPIAL pick used a big shot to finish second on the Section 2-AA champions with 23 goals and added 12 assists.
Courtney Moyer, Kiski Area, jr., D
A strong presence on the back line for the Cavaliers, Moyer supported the team’s young goalkeepers and scored five goals of her own.
Gina Proviano, Plum, so., M
All-WPIAL selection scored 18 goals and six assists to lead Mustangs to the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs.
Sidney Shemanski, Freeport, jr., M
A top player since her freshman season, Shemanski was best scorer and playmaker for WPIAL quarterfinalists with 24 goals and 16 assists.
Second team all-stars
Abby Bastaja, Freeport, sr., M
Laurel Black, Springdale, sr., D
Heaven Butler, Valley, sr., F
Emma Check, Freeport, fr., M
Cara Fiore, Burrell, sr., F
Madison Galinac, Apollo-Ridge, jr., G
Samantha Gildner, Highlands, sr., G
Francesca Lio, Riverview, jr., M
Kaylee Pagane, Burrell, sr., D
Christa Palla, Kiski Area, jr., M
Gabby Weber, Deer Lakes, jr., G
Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Doug at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.