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IMG_0282BY JEFF FALK

MYE$RSTOWN  – There exists a thin line – one between good and great, between team and individual, between fact and conjecture – that Ryelle Shuey and the Elco girls’ soccer team blurs every time they step on the pitch. Or it may be that straddling is Rye’s Raiders’ most impressive skill.

These current Raiders are simply one of the finest girls’ soccer squads that Elco – and dare we say Lebanon County – has ever produced. And they are fronted, not so coincidentally – by one of the best individuals that the locale has ever produced.

That snappy little phrase ‘one of’ is the back upon which conjecture is built. In two weeks we may get a better idea of how well that phrase still applies to the Raiders.

To this point of the season, Shuey and Elco have accomplished everything they have set out to achieve. And while each has been more difficult than the prior, there’s really only one goal left to tackle.

“It’s nice that people think that way,” said Shuey, when advised that her named has surfaced in G.O.A.T. discussions on the street. “But soccer is a team sport. It’s not one person. As long as we’re winning, it doesn’t matter. I’d rather win than score. Who cares who scores? I think that approach helps our team chemistry.

“The last team to come through our program and win districts had two of our coaches on it,” continued Shuey. “It’s pretty cool that they did that as players and now they’re our coaches. It’s nice that we’re making history. This year we’re really close and we’ve connected as a team. But it goes beyond just our soccer family. Our immediate families are just so into it too. We get so much from our parents, our coaches and our community. I think they should be appreciated as well.”

IMG_0299“She’s not the only good player we have,” said Elco head coach Derek Fulk of Shuey. “I think those girls get overlooked somewhat. But she’s definitely got to be in the conversation. I don’t want to say she’s the best, but she’s one of the best girls’ soccer players to come through here.

“Talk to me in two weeks,” Fulk continued. “I’ll let you know then if this is the best girls’ soccer team in Elco history. If we don’t get the state title, I think they’ll (his players) be disappointed. You need things to go your way. You need to get some breaks. But what they’ve accomplished already has put them in the conversation. There’s one goal we’re still striving for, and I’ll be disappointed if we don’t get it.”

Don’t believe me? Allow history to speak for itself.

On Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium, Shuey, a senior midfielder, netted the Raiders’ only goal in a 1-0 win over Boiling Springs. Not only did the tally produce the second District Three championship in Elco history, it made Shuey the program’s all-time leading goal-scorer.

Shuey now has 25 goals this season and 86 for her career. She netted 24 goals as a freshman, 15 as a sophomore and 24 as a junior, all the while being the focus of opponents’ defenses and playing with the mindset of getting her temmates involved.

Karma is nothing to be messed with.

“I think it’s been consistent,” said Shuey, a Lehigh University commit. “My first year, I didn’t have as many people around me. This year, we have multiple goal scorers. It shows how many talented girls we have and how rounded we are. It’s everyone sharing that wealth.

IMG_0264“Coming into the season, I knew our team had a huge target on its back,” added Shuey. “I knew I was going to be marked, but that means my teammates would be open. If the ball comes to me and I’m marked, I just pass it off. We really don’t have a weak part because we work as a unit.”

“One year (her sophomore season) she didn’t score as many goals, but she had twice as many assists,” said Fulk. “She’s been an important part of our team for scoring goals.”

As Shuey has matured, the Raiders have grown up around her. While it may be difficult to put a finger on, there’s just something different, or better, about Elco this season – a seasoned wisdom or a more physical presence or a calmer collectivity.

It could be that Shuey’s unwavering work ethic has rubbed off on the Raiders around her.

“Obviously you have practice, but you need more outside of that,” said Shuey. “We lift over the summer and I think it’s helped us tremendously. We also do fitness over the summer. It’s doing extra work outside of practice. If you’re doing extra stuff, you’ve got to want it. On days off, it might be going to the kicking board. Maybe it’s just going outside and kicking a ball around. It’s just getting as many touches as possible.

“On the soocer field, team-wise, I’m the number-ten position,” added Shuey. “I’m just looking to possess the ball and create opportunities, which could be passing or shooting or even playing defense. Off the field, being a captain, it’s leading the girls and giving advice. Some of the younger girls come to us and ask questions.”

“Ryelle’s everything you would want as a coach,” said Fulk. “She’s humble. She’s more concerned about her teammates than she is about herself. She knows it’s a team game. She’s very compassionate. She has unbelievable character. And she’s competitive.”

Shuey also possesses the ability to turn up the intensity of her play to meet the importance of the contest. Though she vomits before many of the Raiders’ games, it doesn’t take long for her to convert nerves into energy.

“I get really nervous for everything,” said Shuey. “I’ve thrown up a lot before games. But when I get into the game, I’m fine. I think everybody knows they have to step up. But maybe I need to step up a little more.

IMG_0207“In the preseason, we just really pushed each other,” Shuey added. “We have a lot of talent on this team, from the seniors to the freshmen newbies. We wanted to win the section (Three of the Lancaster-Lebanon League) again, but the last three years we sort of fell short of things. We’ve always wanted a state berth.”

“She’s done it all year for us,” said Fulk. “Throughout her career, we’ve used her as a target player. Ryelle’s more comfortable in the midfield, because sometimes she draws the attention of the other team’s defenders. I think she’s pretty much been in the same spot throughout her career. But I think she’s changed. She’s matured. She does a lot of things. She creates opportunities for her teammates.”

At this point of the process, there seems to be more driving Elco’s progress than the mere possibility of a state championship. The Raiders wants to soak up the experience and enjoy the bonds they have fostered.

The Raiders want everything they feel like they have coming to them.

“There is the mentality that it could be the seniors’ last game,” said Shuey. “You’ve got to play with that mentality and play with heart. But we have the faith we’re going to keep going. It’s eventually going to be over. But we want to prolong the ending for as long as we can. It’s just been a ride. It’s been awesome. Hopefully it’ll last as long as it can – until November 17th.

“I think it’s a little bit of everything,” continued Shuey. “We’re close, so we don’t want the season to end. But a state championship has been a goal of ours since the beginning of the season.”

“At this point, I’d be disappointed to lose before we got to the finals,” said Fulk. “I’ve seen what they’re (his players) capable of. Would that alter what they’ve accomplished so far? Absolutely not. I’m their coach, but I’m also their biggest fan.”

Big, strong, smart, two-footed and blessed with deceptive speed, Shuey possesses all the atributes of a deadly scorer. It is a skill set that will translate well to the next level.

“I’m really looking forward to college,” concluded Shuey. “It’s my senior year and I want to have fun, but I’m excited to see what college holds for me. I’m excited to be a part of their (Lehigh’s) program. I think college will be a lot of fun.”

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To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com.

 

 

IMG_66182018 Elco Girls’ Soccer Results

 
 
Date Opponents Outcomes  
8/31
10:00 am
Palmyra
at Elco
0
3
 
9/01
11:00 am
Elco
at Conrad Weiser
2
2
 
9/04
7:00 pm
Elco
at Garden Spot
3
0
 
9/07
4:00 pm
Muhlenberg
at Elco
0
10
 
9/08
5:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Elco
 04  
9/11
4:00 pm
Elco
at Cocalico
6
1
 
9/14
4:00 pm
Elco
at Donegal
3
0
 
9/17
7:00 pm
Elco
at Octorara
5
0
 
9/20
7:00 pm
Solanco
at Elco
0
3
 
9/22
10:00 am
Hershey
at Elco
0
1
 
9/26
4:00 pm
Elco
at Lancaster Mennonite
3
1
 
9/28
4:00 pm
Cocalico
at Elco
0
4
 
10/01
12:00 pm
Elco
at Donegal
5
0
 
10/03
7:00 pm
Octorara
at Elco
0
5
 
10/05
4:00 pm
Elco
at Solanco
3
0
 
10/08
4:00 pm
Lancaster Mennonite
at Elco
0
3
 
10/11
4:00 pm
Berks Catholic
at Elco
   
10/13
10:00 am
Ephrata
Elco
at Lancaster Catholic
1
4
 
10/16
5:30 pm
Elco
Hempfield
at Manheim Central
1
0
 
10/18
5:30 pm
Conestoga Valley
Elco
at Warwick
1
2
 
10/27
7:00 pm
Pequea Valley
at Elco
0
7
 
10/31
5:00 pm
James Buchanan
Elco
at Donegal
1
6
 
11/03
3:30 pm
Elco
at Boiling Springs
1
0
 
11/06
7:00 pm
Lewisburg
Elco
at Cedar Crest
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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