Villa Joe has been model of consistency

Villa Joseph Marie coach Rich Finneyfrock is seeking his third straight undefeated season in league play.
Villa Joseph Marie coach Rich Finneyfrock is seeking his third straight undefeated season in league play. (RON TARVER / Staff Photographer)
Posted: October 17, 2013

Rich Finneyfrock remembers the first time he was surprised by his Villa Joseph Marie soccer team.

It was 2004, the coach's first year at the helm of the Jems, and the squad went on a long-distance run. When the girls in the front of the pack crossed the finish line, he assumed they would stop, stretch, and get some water, relieved to be done.

Instead, they ran back to the course, where some of their teammates were still running, and completed the run at their teammates' sides, cheering them on with encouragement as they matched strides.

It was then that Finneyfrock knew the character of the program was different.

While the character of the Jems has made the coaching experience "that much more pleasurable," Finneyfrock said, their history of excellence has become a program staple.

"We know when we have that Villa soccer uniform on that we have a reputation to uphold," junior Allie Trzaska said.

"Our goal is to make it to that state championship game," Trzaska added. "Every year, that is what it is."

This week, Villa (11-2) is looking to complete its third straight undefeated season in the Catholic Academies league. The Jems defeated St. Basil at home Tuesday, 4-0, and will host Mount St. Joseph on Wednesday.

So far this year, the Jems have outscored league opponents by 48-6.

This team, Finneyfrock said, is "probably as good as any I have had, even the ones who were undefeated. We are still building. I don't think we have reached our potential."

It has been like this since as far back as senior Katie Bell can remember. Her two older sisters played for the Jems, as well, with Elizabeth graduating in 2000 and Julie in 2008.

"It shows how competitive the program is," Bell said. "Our goal every game is that we get a shutout. We go out there and continue that winning tradition."

Getting contributions from all four classes, the Jems have stalwart senior Caroline Gray tending goal, and junior Taylor Stevens and freshman Murphy Agnew are making their mark on offense.

Having won back-to-back District 1 Class AA titles, both Bell and Trzaska say that winning another district championship and returning to the state final are two of the team goals. But they have a league title to take care of first.

If there is one thing Finneyfrock has learned, it is to never be surprised by the Villa Joseph Marie soccer team.

He learned long ago just what the Jems were capable of.


rallysports@phillynews.com

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