Minutemaids’ scoring machine: Going one-on-one with Amanda Attanasi

Washington Township’s Amanda Attanasi battles with Williamstown’s Daniel during last week’s season opener. Attanasi has scored in each of Township’s three games this season and in 32 of the 35 varsity games she’s played in in her high school career. (RYAN LAWRENCE, South Jersey Sports Weekly)

If a softball player managed to reach base in 32 of her first 35 varsity games, or a basketball player knocked down at least one three-pointer in 32 of her first 35 games, or a lacrosse player tallied at least one goal in 32 of 35 games, they’d all be impressive accomplishments.

But no one has ever confused soccer with being a high-scoring sport. So for anyone to score at least one goal in 32 of their first 35 high school games, it’d be downright remarkable.

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According to official NJSIAA stats via NJ.com, this is exactly what Washington Township junior Amanda Attanasi has accomplished after notching one of the Minutemaids’ goals in a season-opening 4-2 win over Williamstown last week and then following it up with goals in each of the next two games (against top-5 state teams Eastern and Shawnee), too 

“I believe it,” Washington Township girls soccer coach Katie Sachs said of the nearly-insane stat.  

After breaking out two years ago as a freshman, scoring 29 goals to help Township advance to the Group 4 state semifinals, Attanasi entered her junior year with 48 goals and 17 assists in 32 career games.

“It shouldn’t (be that easy), but Amanda’s a really great player,” Sachs said of her top striker’s scoring touch. “The thing with Amanda is she is brutal when it comes to being competitive. She wants to win every game and she’ll do whatever she can to help the team win. She works really hard and, for her, it’s not so much about scoring goals, it’s about the team winning. She’s not trying to chase any records, that’s not her style. She just likes to play soccer and plays hard. She’s just a really great kid. We’re lucky to have her.”

After scoring her 49th career goal in the opener against Williamstown, while at the midway point of her already-impressive high school career, Attanasi spoke with South Jersey Sports Weekly.

Attanasi, one of the state’s most lethal strikers since her freshman season, committed to James Madison University last spring. (RYAN LAWRENCE, South Jersey Sports Weekly)

South Jersey Sports Weekly: Scoring in soccer isn’t easy, right? This isn’t basketball or football. So what do you credit it to, have you always been a goal scorer?

Attanasi: Yeah, kind of. I’ve just learned to play with different players, but I’ve been transitioning with the same players for club and for high school, so it kind of makes it a little easier, knowing everyone’s style of play. Knowing that they know how I want the ball makes it a lot easier for me to score the goals.

SJSW: You’re just about halfway through your high school career. Looking back, what would you consider your best accomplishment?

Attanasi: Probably scoring an overtime, game-winning goal my freshman year vs. Kingsway. Man, that was a game. We definitely underestimated Kingsway and we’re like, ‘Oh we’re going to win.’ So going to overtime, that feeling, and then winning it, it was an amazing feeling. 

SJSW: And what’s your biggest goal going forward, the thing you want to accomplish most?

Attanasi: Definitely getting to 100 goals. I’m going to try. [Laughs].

SJSW: Your coach said you’re somebody who has been pretty competitive and intense since Day One as a freshman. What makes you tick?

Attanasi: Just the love of the game since I began playing when I was young, the players I’m around, I’ve been with most of them since I was young. 

SJSW: Who is your favorite player to watch in South Jersey who isn’t on your team? Someone you respect or like their style?

Attanasi: I respect (Eastern’s) Riley Tiernan. Her skills are good, you don’t know where she’s going, ever.

SJSW: How big is that rivalry with Eastern?

Attanasi: Oh yeah, always competitive. We drop players, they drop players and it’s still an even match. It’ll be a good one this year.

SJSW: On team bus trips, who is the funniest person on your team?

Attanasi: Funniest person, I’d have to say Isabelle Pingol.

SJSW: How about the smartest?

Attanasi: Smartest? They’re all smart, they’ll all in like the top 20. 

SJSW: Who would you consider the toughest player on your team?

Attanasi: Manon (Bada). She’s pretty tough. 

Attanasi in control during the season opener against Williamstown. (RYAN LAWRENCE, South Jersey Sports Weekly)

SJSW: Who is your player on the women’s national team?

Attanasi: Julie Johnston Ertz.

SJSW: Should Carli Lloyd be allowed to play in the NFL?

Attanasi: Nah.

SJSW: What, you think it should be an all-male sport or what? [laughs]

Attanasi: She’s too old.

SJSW: Great, now I feel old. But, and I’m going to show my age here, kickers can be old, there was a kicker for the New Orleans Saints back in the 90s who was in his mid-40s. And Tom Brady is what, 42?

Attanasi: He just throws the ball.

SJSW: [Laughs]. Who is your favorite Philly athlete?

Attanasi: I like Rhys Hoskins.

SJSW: Do you have a favorite team?

Attanasi: Eagles.

SJSW: Favorite thing to do when you’re not playing soccer?

Attanasi: Sleep.

SJSW: [Laughs]. I like that. Good one. Your sister is also on the team, right? 

Attanasi: Yeah.

SJSW: There are also three sisters on this team, right?

Coach Katie Sachs: The Castorina sisters. But (Attanasi) is a triplet. Only two of them (Amanda and Taylor) play.

SJSW: What does your other sister (Paige) do?

Attanasi: Cheers. 

SJSW: What’s your favorite thing about being a triplet?

Attanasi: Sharing clothes probably. 

SJSW: Least favorite thing about being a triplet?

Attanasi: Sharing a room.

Attanasi encourages a teammate during a stoppage in play. (RYAN LAWRENCE, South Jersey Sports Weekly)

SJSW: I know you committed to James Madison University to keep playing soccer. What was it about JMU that you liked?

Attanasi: I just like the coaching staff, the facilities, the program, how they talked me up.

SJSW: Do you have a favorite movie?

Attanasi: The 5th Wave.

SJSW: Favorite school subject?

Attanasi: Math.

SJSW: OK, we’re at the state championship game and they’re announcing the starting lineups. Each player gets their own song to walk out to. What song are you picking?

Attanasi: Yikes. I don’t know. [Laughs]

SJSW: I put you on the spot there. Something that gets you hype?

Attanasi: Probably “UCLA” by RL Grime.

Ryan is a veteran journalist of 20 years. He’s worked at the Courier-Post, Philadelphia Daily News, Delaware County Daily Times, primarily as a sportswriter, and is currently a sports editor at Newspaper Media Group and an adjunct journalism instructor at Rowan University.
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