WESTFIELD – The Westfield Bombers are still more than a year removed from having captured a Western Massachusetts Division 1 girls soccer championship, but they are still producing victories.
Westfield High School senior Maggie Prystowski recently joined twin sisters Chandler (University of Massachusetts-Amherst) and Emma Pedolzky (Bryant University), Catie Bean (Bryant), and Saige Smith (Stonehill College) in receiving a D1/D2 scholarship offer to play women’s soccer in the fall. Prystowski announced her intentions to play for American International College.
“It was pretty exciting,” Prystowski said. “I worked really hard this year. I really tried to prove my way.”
Prystowski began playing soccer at age 4. She played for Westfield FC, the FC Stars, and NEFC, a non-profit premier soccer club which develops and trains youth soccer players between the ages of 6-23 in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Primarily a forward for much of her young career, her transition to defense was not complete until this past season.
“I love passing and love shooting,” said Prystowski, admitting her move to defense was a challenge. Coaches taught her how to position her body in a different way and how to watch offensive players to anticipate their every move. The advice finally clicked in.
“I feel like that (change from offense to defense) made me a good component to the team because I can play any position needed,” she said.
Prystowski thoroughly enjoyed a productive high school career, the highlight being a run to the state title game in 2018. The Bombers had their chances for a Western Mass. repeat derailed by COVID. Although they were still unable to make another playoff run with competition reduced to Pioneer Valley Interscholastic Athletic Conference regular season competition, the results were just as positive.
“It was fun,” Prystowski said, despite a limited schedule with no tournament options. “Everyone worked hard and prepared, even more so this year. It was good to see everyone give 110 percent in practice and on the the field every day.”
Prystowski will now take everything she has learned to AIC. The adjustment period figures to be made somewhat easier with Yellow Jackets women’s soccer head coach Kevon Isa expected to return for the 2021 season. Isa has been a coach and mentor of Pystowski and her fellow high school teammates at the youth level during their careers.
Now, having played offense and defense, Prystowski feels she can meet any challenge head-on at the next level.
Said Prystowski: “I hope to start a few games, score a few goals, and, if on defense, provide a few goals for the goalie.”