Storck helps St. Basil reach state championship

Though they lost the Class AA championship game, senior Paulina Storck will graduate with nothing but good memories of playing.

Trophy time: Paulina Storck (right) celebrates with her sister Maria after their St. Basil’s soccer team claimed the district championship. The team advanced to the state championship before falling to Mercyhurst Prep 1–0. SOURCE: ILENE STORCK / SUPPLIED PHOTO

The pain lasted a few minutes.

The great memories will last forever.

That perfectly describes Paulina Storck’s soccer career at St. Basil’s Academy.

Storck, a senior, helped guide the Panthers to the Class AA championship game. The game didn’t end the way she wanted it to, a 1–0 loss to Mercyhurst Prep in Hershey on Friday, but when it comes to her career, it couldn’t have gone any better.

“For a second, when you hear the buzzer go off (to end the game), you’re just so upset because it’s over,” said Storck, a starting defender. “We wanted to win, but I was just as sad that it was finished. But I’m really proud of the players and the coaches. We made it so far.”

The Panthers were playing in the final game of the year, which is quite an accomplishment, but not a surprise to Storck.

Last year, the team advanced to the state quarterfinals, and that gave the Panthers plenty of reasons for optimism.

Still, you have to win to make those expectations come true.

“I think, last year, we learned a lot because we went through it,” Storck said. “And we have so many seniors back. Our defense is mostly seniors and our goalie is a senior, so we expected we could make it this far. But we’re just a small school from Philly, so it’s pretty exciting.

“Getting to the championship was great because it gave us more time to be together. It was great to make it as far as we did.”

Storck was exceptionally emotional following the game because it marked the end of playing with many girls she was teammates with since she was a child.

The Fox Chase resident has played with most of the girls on the squad, either during her grade school days playing CYO soccer for St. Cecilia or her youth soccer days at Fox Chase.

She will definitely miss playing the game in a Panthers jersey, but she’ll miss playing with her friends a heck of a lot more.

“This team was so close, both on and off the field,” she said. “They’re my best friends. We played together so long, and we got closer every year. This was really a great year.

“I think we have a lot of skilled players on this team, but we were definitely better because of the chemistry we had. We really wanted to win for each other.”

Chemistry was key.

So was Storck, who not only proved to be a great defender, but also a leader.

“When you’re a senior and a captain, you have to be vocal,” Storck said. “You have to see the field. It was easy because we all worked together. We all made sure to do our job and help out.”

Now she’ll help out other teammates.

Storck is a three-sport athlete at Basil. Now that her cleats are turned in for the winter, she’ll get busy working on her jump shot for basketball season.

When that season concludes, she’ll grab a glove and a bat and head for the softball field.

“I think soccer or softball is my main sport,” Storck said. “But I love basketball, too. This year, we could be very good, too, because we have a lot of good players back and we had a really good season last year.

“Going far (in the playoffs) definitely helps because you know what to expect when you get there. But once you’re playing in a game like we did today, you don’t really think about the pressure. You just go out and do what you do every other game.”

When she’s not playing sports, Storck stays busy.

She maintains a 3.7 grade point average in the classroom and works as a hostess at Macaroni’s.

“The good thing is, I do hang out with my friends, but most of my best friends play sports with me, so when we’re doing that, we’re having fun,” Storck said. “My parents have always stressed time management, so it’s not too hard to juggle (work, school and athletics).”

She hopes to be just as busy next year.

Storck is unsure about where she’ll go to college, but she’s looking at Temple and Bryn Athyn, where she’s earned the presidential scholarship.

While she’s not positive, she’s leaning toward becoming a teacher.

“I’d like to major in early education and special education,” she said. “I love working with kids, and I love to work with special-needs kids. At Basil’s, I do Athletes Helping Athletes. It’s so much fun to take a special-needs kid and give them a chance to do what I love doing.”

And what she loved doing was representing the Panthers on the pitch.

“We had a great year,” Storck said. “My mom recorded the game. I might not watch it for a few weeks because we lost, but I’m so proud of everything we did together. I’m proud of my team and the coaches. It was a great year.” ••