SuburbanOneSports.com recognizes a male and female featured athlete each week. The awards, sponsored by Univest, are given to seniors of good character who are students in good standing that have made significant contributions to their teams. Selections are based on nominations received from coaches, athletic directors and administrators.
Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Female Athlete for week of Dec. 11, 2019
The Bensalem girls’ soccer team entered 2019 season with a much different look than last year. More than a dozen players had graduated. Gone was a large veteran group that was counted upon for several years to lead on and off the field, a group that powered the 2018 Owls’ squad to one of the most successful seasons in recent memory. The role of this year’s senior class would be much different. This year’s seniors and captains would be counted on to teach a young team filled with inexperienced underclassmen, to keep the younger players positive and to accept that improvements throughout the season might not be reflected in final scores and team standings.
Fortunately for the Owls, Emily Wineburg was among this year’s group of seniors. “The way Emily led this year says a lot about her,” said Bensalem girls’ soccer coach Bob Crawford. “It had to be frustrating for her - we had 14 seniors last year, and she was used to playing with that group since she was a freshman. Now everyone is looking at her and her classmates to be those leaders. Emily always stayed positive. In the beginning of the season, we were losing 1-0, 2-1 games, and it can wear on you. She fought through it, never gave up, made sure the team stayed positive. The way these girls were playing by the end of the year, they didn’t want to lose. Our record might not show how good the team was at the end of the season, but they had really improved as the season went on, and that was because of players like Emily who never gave up.”
One of Wineburg’s roles as a captain for the young Owl squad was to serve as a liaison between the coach and the younger players. During games, she let her feet do most of the talking. “Emily is a quiet leader,” Crawford said. “But she has a foot that can strike a ball a mile. I would joke with her that she should be a placekicker for the football team, that’s how strong her leg is. Emily was one of the first people I would go to when there was something that needed to be communicated to the team. I’d talk to her about what we needed to do to play better, and she’d talk to the other captains and the girls and relay the message in a way that sometimes a coach can’t.”
Last year’s senior-heavy squad pulled out a winning record in the Suburban One National Conference (6-5-1). This year’s team battled through a two-win season. But Wineburg – a four-year starter – said she wouldn’t trade this season for anything. “We had our struggles this season, but everyone really became super close, it turned out to be a really enjoyable season,” she said. “You could tell we put a lot of effort and heart into the season. We definitely turned a corner during the season, we all really started to depend on each other and we all wanted to help each other.”
In the classroom, Wineburg is just as eager to take on any challenge. Her slate is packed with honors-level courses. She is a member of the National Honor Society, is in the top 10 percent of her class, and is a member of student government as well as the Building Bridges club that visits district middle schools to help prepare the kids for high school life. She is also a member of the Bucks County Student Forum, a monthly meeting where four students from every high school in the county meet to talk about current issues in their respective schools and share ideas. With three sports – she also plays basketball and lacrosse, a loaded class schedule, and plenty of extracurricular activities, the last thing Wineburg needed was the added pressure of selecting a college. She got that out of the way early, signing a letter of intent to continue her soccer career at East Stroudsburg University while she pursues a degree in exercise science.
To read Wineburg’s complete profile, please click on the following link: https://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/female/emily-wineburg-0088707
Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Male Athlete for week of Dec. 11, 2019
Carter Houlihan’s final high school soccer season reads like something close to a fairy tale complete with a happy ending. The senior standout was the centerpiece of North Penn’s magical run to a PIAA 4A state crown, scoring both of his team’s goals in the Knights’ 2-0 win over archrival Central Bucks West in the state title game. Lost in the shuffle of the Knights’ giddy postgame celebration after their state title win at HersheyPark Stadium was Houlihan’s brief exchange with West coach Stefan Szygiel, whose team faced Houlihan and the Knights 10 times in the past four years and who also coached the senior star on the club circuit with PA Rush U10 to U14. “Carter and I had a moment – there was a big hug at midfield between him and I, and I said, ‘Everything you’ve done and what you’ve accomplished with this program – you’ve done it all, dude, and you deserve every second of it,’” Szygiel said. “And that’s the truth. You can’t not be happy for him and that program. He’s a true competitor. Coaching and preparing for Carter the past four years – it’s not just about him as an individual, it’s the way he can inspire others around him. He’s capable of changing any game on a dime, he can activate a different mode of himself, and he did it to us in the state final. I’ve seen it for years, and it’s almost like he’s going to go into ‘Carter mode,’ and it just might be unstoppable. That’s always been the unique thing about him that sets him apart from other dynamic, mercurial players.”
Houlian capped a remarkable season by earning PSCA Pennsylvania Player of the Year honors as well as United Soccer Coaches (USC) East Region All-American and USC All-American recognition. “I definitely think the individual success came with the team success,” Houlihan said. “I was just worried about team success first. If those things were meant to happen, it would fall into place after we had team success.” No moment was too big for Houlihan, who scored 30 goals and added 15 assists his senior year. “They do not come along like him in the high school program,” North Penn coach Paul Duddy said. “We’ve had some great players over the years, but Carter just has the resolve – ‘Okay, let’s go win the game,’ and it showed all season long. He has great skills, he works hard at it, and his first couple of steps with the ball are something you just don’t see every day with high school players – it’s a combination of speed and his recognition of where to go with the ball. You see that professionally and things like that – he has the knack for it. It’s just pretty incredible for an 18-year-old guy.”
There was never a whole lot of doubt that Houlihan would continue his career at the collegiate level. “When I was younger, I watched North Carolina play Charlotte in the national championship game, and North Carolina won (1-0),’” said Houlihan of the 2011 title game. “When I was a young kid, the dream was I wanted to play soccer at North Carolina. Once the recruiting process started, I realized that wasn’t an option.” Countless schools were options, and Houlihan selected Lafayette, the first school that reached out to him and also the first he visited. “They just treated me like I was already on the team when I went there,” he said. “It was a nice feeling to be wanted, and they definitely made me feel that. It just felt like home.” The opportunity to get a top-notch education was also important for Houlihan, who will major in environmental science.
In his final go-round this winter, Houlihan is a member of North Penn’s basketball team, but it’s on the soccer pitch that the senior standout – whose Lehigh Valley club team won the U.S. Youth Soccer U18 National Championship in July - leaves his legacy. “To see him accomplish all that he did and do it in his final chance at it, especially coming off ’17 and ’18 when they did get eliminated in districts, to turn around this year and go 25-1 and win everything – man, it’s remarkable,” Szygiel said. “Ultimately, in his final go, he’s going to leave a legacy with that program as one of the best to ever come through.”
To read Houlihan’s complete profile, please click on the following link: https://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/male/carter-houlihan-0088708