Resilient Mimbas Remain Optimistic After an Early End to Their Fall Season

Despite a season that ended prematurely, the Stuyvesant Mimbas showed a lot of character in their campaign and are still looking set for the future.

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By Honora Muratori

After a decent 2022 season that ended with a frustrating playoff defeat to Francis Lewis High School, this year’s Mimbas, Stuyvesant’s girls’ varsity soccer team, aimed to improve from their previous struggles. Though they experienced the departure of four seniors, including the two star co-captains Sophia Wan-Brodsky (‘23) and Susan McKnight (‘23), the Mimbas’ 21-player roster had enough reinforcements to paper over the cracks left behind by their graduated teammates. Additionally, the underclassman-heavy squad of last season meant that the Mimbas could tackle this year with a more mature team that had already created some chemistry with each other. Combine that with the experience and skill of their new senior co-captains, wing-back Gigi Bryce and defender Mia Haas, and you have a team capable of challenging the best the PSAL’s Division AA had to offer.

The Mimbas started their 2023-24 campaign spectacularly, beating the High School of Health Professions and Human Services in an emphatic 7-0 victory. Bryce contributed heavily from her wing-back position, providing one assist and scoring a goal herself. However, the week after, the Mimbas suffered their first setback in the form of a 2-1 away defeat to LaGuardia. Though it was a difficult game, the team managed to attempt 13 shots at goal, but they were hampered by a key shortcoming that would linger with them through the season. “Our biggest weakness was finishing and capitalizing on chances,” Haas said. Indeed, in their game against LaGuardia, the Mimbas could only convert one goal from their 13 shots, while their opponents were clinical, scoring two goals from their six shots.

That said, one noticeable strength the Mimbas possessed was their tenacity and excellent chemistry, especially in the moments that tested them most. This was especially evident in their game against the Blue Demons from Beacon High School, where the Mimbas were able to equalize from a 1-0 deficit and hold out a 1-1 tie. “The best match we’ve played was against Beacon,” Bryce said. “We played really solidly and worked so well together as a team.” The Mimbas followed this strong showing against one of the best sides in Manhattan with a win against the Wolverines from Bronx Science, a team that they have not beaten since the pandemic.

As expected from a rivalry game, the match was a tightly fought competition where both teams had chances at scoring. The Wolverines, being the favorites, were dominant from kick-off, but the Mimbas’ defense did not budge, and junior goalkeeper Kaia Berger’s 14 saves kept the team in the game. In the second half, against the run of play, junior midfielder Karina Gupta scored what would be the only goal of the contest and ensured the 1-0 victory for Stuyvesant. “We rise to challenges really well,” Haas said. “For hard games like against Beacon and Bronx, we play together and everyone works so hard.” This resilient and unrelenting approach to the game would translate into the last four games the Mimbas played, as they rounded out the season with an 8-3-1 record and 25 total points, a significant improvement over last season’s 18 points. However, the Mimbas finished their regular season in fifth place once again and were drawn against the two-seed Jaguars from John Jay High School for the playoffs.

Unfortunately, the Jaguars would prove too strong an opponent for the Mimbas at McCarren Park as, despite a heroic effort, Stuyvesant’s girls’ varsity soccer team faltered to a 7-0 defeat. Despite this premature exit from the playoffs, however, the Mimbas can be proud of their achievements. As displayed by their victory over their rival Bronx Science, the team showed great improvement from last season, especially in their character and willingness to be competitive up until the final whistle.

A prime example of this is sophomore defender Siena Short, who joined the team this year and has excelled in her rookie season. “She’s stepped up [...] and overall has been a really strong and consistent player in our defense,” Haas said, who played alongside Short in coach Manuel Simon’s 3-5-2 formation across the 13 games the Mimbas played. On the other side of the field, sophomore midfielder Clara Pallordet has made her position her own with 12 goals and six assists. “She’s been very good up top [and] she’s scored important goals like her header against Beacon,” Bryce said, whose role as the attacking creative on the team has seemingly found a good successor. Then there are the rising seniors such as Berger and junior forward Rebecca Pereira, whose skill and leadership next year will undoubtedly be invaluable. Overall, the future of the Mimbas is in very good shape, and the team remains optimistic about the season to come. “I hope they have a good, fun, competitive season where they play well and grow both individually and as a team,” Haas said.

It will now be the goal of next year to overcome that last hurdle by improving from their fifth-place finish and progressing further in the playoffs. Though the departures of co-captains Haas and Bryce this year will raise some questions that will need answering, this season has shown that the Mimbas are an adaptable team, capable of rising to the most demanding occasions.