Jay M. Robinson High’s Sabrina Bologna returns to lead Bulldogs soccer team
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Tuesday, Mar. 04, 2014

Jay M. Robinson High’s Sabrina Bologna returns to lead Bulldogs soccer team

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- COURTESY OF KELLEY POULOS
Jay M. Robinson sophomore Sabrina Bologna scored 27 goals last year, the most ever by a freshman Bulldog. Robinson girls’ soccer has won three conference championships in the past four years.
  • Five girls’ soccer players to watch

    •  Amanda Anderson, A.L. Brown, Sr. – Defender, 5-foot-4. Eleven of A.L. Brown’s 12 victories came when it held opponents to a goal or less. Anderson, an all-conference and all-region player, had a lot to do with that.

    •  Sabrina Bologna, Jay M. Robinson, Soph. – Forward, 5-foot-6. Scored 27 goals and 18 assists as a freshman last year. Named all-conference and all-region. Helped Robinson to 18-3 overall and the South Piedmont 3A title.

    •  Anna Estep, Cannon School, Sr. – Forward, 5-foot-9. All-state player totaled 51 goals and 11 assists in 2013. Estep has more than 100 goals for her career. Has been all-conference for three years. She will play at the University of Pennsylvania in fall.

    •  Marisa James, Concord, Soph. – Goalkeeper, 5-foot-10. Concord did not win any games last season, but five losses were by two goals or less. For her role, James was named all-conference and all-region as a freshman.

    •  Lexie Lamb, cfa Academy, Jr. – Forward, 5-foot-5. cfa Academy didn’t make the NCISAA 2A state tournament, but Lamb still was named all-state. She also was all-conference, scoring 12 goals.

Sabrina Bologna netted 27 goals for the Jay M. Robinson High girls’ soccer team last year.

Not only was that total the most by a freshman in program history, it was more goals than any previous Bulldogs player.

But in some respects, Bologna was as much a role player as she was an offensive prodigy. She also recorded 18 assists in a record-breaking year for the Bulldogs.

When the season ended, it was fellow forward Cassie Nelson who established the new school record for goals, with 35. As a first-year player, Bologna was a nice complement to standout seniors like Nelson and midfielder Mickayla Shaw.

Those seniors, who won three conference championships over a four-year period, are gone, but Bologna is back to lead Robinson into a new era. The Bulldogs make the jump this season from the South Piedmont 3A Conference to the MECKA 8 4A.

Though she might shoulder much of the scoring load this year, Bologna’s overall play, and that of several talented teammates, will determine Robinson’s success.

“In my 10 years of coaching, I have not seen a better passer,” said Robinson coach Todd Spinell. “I characterize her as a point guard on the soccer field. She is very impressive.

“She has her head up when she’s dribbling to see things before everyone else does on the field, so she’s very capable of making assists as well as scoring spectacular goals.”

“Spectacular” is the word that best describes Bologna’s last goal of the 2013 season. Spinell said he hopes it foreshadows what is to come this year.

Playing in a second-round state playoff game at home against Marvin Ridge, the Bulldogs were trailing 2-1 when Bologna picked up a loose ball 40 yards out.

She dribbled through half of Marvin Ridge’s lineup and pulled the goalkeeper out of the net. Her first shot hit the goalpost, but she gathered the rebound and put the ball in the back of the net for a 2-all tie.

“She was able to score probably the most unbelievable high school goal I’ve ever seen,” said Spinell. “The whole place was going crazy.”

Robinson lost the game 3-2, however, and closed the season with an 18-3 overall record. The Bulldogs won their third SPC championship in four years and the graduating seniors finished their career with a 50-4-2 mark in conference games.

The seniors and Bologna hit it off early in the season. After a preseason scrimmage in which she and Nelson each scored two goals, it was clear how potent their attack could be.

“I think it was a combination of Mickayla being at midfield and her feeding us the ball,” said Bologna, who was named all-conference and all-region. “We knew where each other would be. We would get great crosses that each of us could finish.”

To start the season, Bologna wasn’t sure she was good enough to make the varsity team; Spinell, however, said he knew after the first workout she’d probably be in the starting lineup.

Spinell coached Bologna’s brother Alex when he played at Robinson a couple years ago. Spinell knew he had a younger sister but didn’t know how good she was.

Born in South Africa to parents of Italian descent, Bologna started playing soccer in America when her family moved to Concord six years ago.

She started with recreational play and quickly advanced into club ball. For the past three seasons, Bologna has played with Lake Norman Soccer Club.

Entering her sophomore year, Bologna is a legitimate Division I college prospect, said Spinell.

The Bulldogs definitely will rely on her scoring this year, but she will have plenty of help on both ends of the field. Lauren Kataja, a four-year varsity player, and three-year varsity starter Natalia Lozano, anchor the defense. Senior Maggie Dalton joins Bologna up front.

They will get support from midfielders Natalie Andrejchak, a junior, and freshmen Paige Manzi and Kayla Fried.

Joe Habina is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Joe? Email him at joehabina@yahoo.com.

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