Wolves wrap up season with win
Maia MacLean was behind the eight-ball when she joined the St. Catharines Club Roma Wolves this year.
The 19-year-old Niagara Falls native missed the first 11 games of the League1 season after fracturing her ankle skiing.
“I won’t be doing that again,” she smirked.
MacLean admitted it was difficult to join the team midstream.
“It was very frustrating. You just have to work your way up. Practice was very key to show you want to play and score goals and do your job,” the graduate of Saint Paul Catholic High School said.
MacLean scored in her first game back and has been a solid presence in the midfield.
“Her role is to steady our midfield and balance off our attack involving our midfield so it’s not just our forwards on the attack. She bridges that gap,” Roma coach Lucio Ianiero said.
MacLean comes to the Wolves after an impressive freshman campaign at Niagara University where she collected seven goals and seven assists and was named to the All-MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) rookie team.
“Although she’s one of our younger players she has experience giving the opportunity she’s had playing D1 down south,” Ianiero said. “It shows her skill level and skill set. We’re happy she’s committed to the program and hopefully for years down the road as well because she’s only going to get better.”
MacLean has enjoyed her time with the Wolves.
“The team is very competitive and very welcoming coming in with a new environment. No one has played together and we started well which was very exciting,” she said. “I enjoyed playing with them and I’ll definitely be coming back next year.”
MacLean feels League1 is a perfect place to keep her skills sharp for the school season.
“It’s huge. Coming back to this environment, not coming back to a little travel team or whatever, it definitely keeps me going and gets me ready for August.
“The competition was pretty even. It’s just a different environment. Just playing soccer in different countries.”
MacLean was thrilled how she was able to excel in her first season with the Purple Eagles.
“That’s why you have to push yourself. Over the summer they give us packages to work on. You just hope for the best and get in the starting lineup and play as many minutes as possible.”
MacLean comes from an impressive gene pool of high-level athletic talent. Her aunt, Amanda DiCarlo, played scholarship soccer at the University of Maryland Baltimore. Among her first cousins are: Nicholas MacLean, on a golf scholarship at Adelphi University; and, Eric MacLean, a scholarship golfer at Niagara University. Some of her second cousins include: Frank Pietrangelo, coach of the Niagara Falls Canucks who won a Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins; Gina Pietrangelo, who had a dual scholarship at Princeton University for soccer and hockey; and, Louise Pietrangelo, a scholarship hockey player at Dartmouth.
The Wolves wrapped up their season Friday at home with a 2-0 victory over Hamilton United to improve to 8-10-1.
Grace Tawil and Sabrina Bisante scored for Roma while Emma Hendrie earned the shutout.
“Our goals at the beginning of the year were to make the playoffs and that slowly started to unravel with the losses in the middle of the season,” Ianiero said. “It’s a condensed season and when you’re playing three games in seven days — not to make excuses — but we’re not fit. We weren’t where we needed to be. That could have taken us over the edge. The second game in three days you could see points were given away then.
“A little disappointing but we’re happy how the team is gelling. It’s always difficult the first year, especially when there’s a mix of older and younger players. The skill level is not where it needs to be but that’s something the coaches are happy to be challenged with and we’ll try and bring that up to where it needs to be.”
Ianiero was pleasantly surprised with the level of play in the league.
“I didn’t know what to expect and for the most part, the challenges were great. There were teams that were very strong. Just a joy to play against them, frustrating because we didn’t get points against them but it’s nice to see that level in Ontario.”
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