Senior goalie Brooke Shissler played a huge part in helping the Panthers advance to the state 2A championship game.
As the stakes got a little higher, the games got a little easier.
At least for Brooke Shissler.
Shissler was the senior goalie on the St. Basil’s Academy girls soccer team, and this year she helped the Panthers advance to the state 2A championship game.
The pressure is always on once a team makes the playoffs, but Shissler has been dealing with pressure since she first walked into the school when she was named the starting goalie her freshman year.
“I was really nervous that year,” said Shissler, who attended St. Hillary’s for grade school. “This year, the games were bigger because we played until the very last day, but when I was a freshman, I was a lot more nervous. I think because I was playing with a lot of great players who were older, I was nervous.
“This year was hard because we made it to the finals and every team you play is good. We had a great year. I think we were too busy playing to get nervous. Once you’re out there, you’re just playing soccer.”
Playing soccer at a very high level, that is.
Last year, the Panthers made it to the semifinals of the state tournament, so taking another step was big, especially for Shissler and the other seniors on the squad because it was their final chance at representing the school.
But making the state final wasn’t the only highlight for the squad.
The Panthers competed in the Catholic Academies, which boasts many of the top teams in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
The Panthers went 5–5 in league play, and 7–0 when playing schools outside the league.
“I think we came together and played so well because we had so many tough games against the teams in our league, and a lot of the schools are bigger than us,” Shissler said.
“Every game, the pressure was on. I loved that as a goalie because it kept me focused.
“I had to make a few big saves, but I was lucky to have such a great team playing in front of me. Our defense is the best, and they made my job easy. I just tried to do my part.”
Shissler was strong in net all year, but she got especially stingy once the playoffs rolled around.
In five games, she surrendered just two goals, and never allowed more than one goal in any game.
In the state final, Basil fell to Mercyhurst Prep, 1–0, in Hershey.
Winning games was nice, but that’s not what Shissler will miss the most now that her soccer career is over.
“I’m going to miss just being around the team and the coaches,” Shissler said. “We made it as far as any team in school history, and we’re proud of that, but we had more fun just being around each other.”
Soccer is now over, but Shissler will remain just as busy.
She is a class representative for the third year, and she’s active in the SBA Cares program, which helps out in the community.
“That’s one of the best things about this school, it’s so involved in the community,” Shissler said. “SBA Cares is a great program, we help out any way we can. We basically volunteer at places like the Ronald McDonald House or any other place where people need help in the community.”
She’ll also remain active in athletics.
In the winter, she’ll play CYO basketball for St. Hillary’s. When the weather warms up, she’ll grab her lacrosse stick, playing forward.
“I like that I get to play goalie in one sport and offense in another,” Shissler said. “In basketball, I play center. I’m not really tall, but I’m the tallest one on the team, so they put me there. I just try to work hard.”
Someday, she hopes to put in a lot of effort while on the sidelines.
A lifelong soccer player, Shisler hopes to play in college while majoring in physical therapy. But she’ll remain active in the sport she loves.
“I’d love to coach some day,” Shissler said. “I’d like to have an impact on someone the way my coaches have had an impact on me. They’ve helped me a lot, and I would like to do the same for someone.”
Until she returns to Basil’s field as a coach, she’ll just go as a cheerleader. She believes she’ll have a lot of reasons to cheer next year.
“They have the potential to be really good,” Shissler said. “They’re losing a lot of seniors, so they’ll have some positions to fill, but I think they’ll be very good.”