On the field, seniors Salina Williford, Maddie Swarr, and Marley Jennings insist they are more serious.
Or at least they sure are trying to be.
"I'm feeling like I used to be all goof, but now I realize people are looking up to us so we have had to grow up a bit," Swarr said.
Williford and Swarr have started for the Pioneers since they were freshmen, and Jennings is a three-year starter. Last season, Williford and Swarr combined for 18 goals and 24 assists in 24 games.
Conestoga plays a triangle midfield, in which one midfielder holds back in a more defensive position while the other two are more aggressive offensively. Williford and Jennings play the offensive midfield position, and Swarr, whom they count on to win head balls, stays back on defense.
Williford is known for her crafty and creative cuts both on and off the ball. Powerful, the midfielder is often on the receiving end of a ball from Jennings, who is more possession-oriented and feels she is at her best when passing the ball and creating opportunities for others.
"They complement each other really well," Conestoga coach Meghan Brogan said. "Maddie is really quiet, but she is in effect a quarterback or a point guard. Salina has a ton of physical power. Marley has beautiful technique and a work ethic NFL coaches would die for."
In the scheme, the three are constantly rotating and recycling, one reason why they refer to themselves as one midfield unit as opposed to individual midfielders.
"If all three of them played exactly the same, they wouldn't have the success that they have had," Brogan said. "They bring different things to the table. We wouldn't be the same without any of them."
The three, along with converted center-back Julianna Bradley, are among 15 seniors on a Pioneers roster that has had a history of heartbreak at the end of the season.
In 2009, the Pioneers were ousted surprisingly early in districts, and in 2010 and 2011, they lost during the state tournament. All three games were decided in overtime, and last year's experience especially left a bad taste in their mouths. The Pioneers lost after their opponent, Pennridge, was awarded a penalty kick.
"It didn't end how we wanted," Williford, a Penn State recruit, said of last season. "We are just focusing on the Central League right now, and we will go from there."
The Pioneers went 9-2 in the Central League last year, amassing an 18-6 overall record. This season, they have an especially difficult schedule full of nonleague opponents, including a matchup Monday against Archbishop Wood.
Their two league losses last year came against Radnor and Strath Haven, two games that the girls are most looking forward to this season. Jennings, who will play her college soccer at American, echoed the notion that the Pioneers will not settle for the "short, abrupt endings" of seasons past. She is also excited about the rematch with Archbishop Wood, a game, she said, with "a lot of history behind it."
The midfielders' relationship goes back to under-9 club soccer, as Swarr, who has committed to Williams, and Jennings played for the Tredyffrin Easttown Youth Soccer Association until they were 15. During that same period, Williford played for Lower Merion, and Bradley played for both club squads.
"Marley, Maddie, and Salina together are like a single organism," Bradley said. "The way they play amazes me when I watch in the back."
Back at preseason a week before their opening game, the Pioneers were done scrimmaging and the dynamic midfield ended up connecting on more than a few goals.
It was time to pick up the balls, so Swarr kicked one to Williford, who turned around and trapped it to the ground with her backside.
They were back to laughing, but it was OK.
Practice, after all, was over.
Contact Kate Harman at email@example.com.