South Orange, N.J. - Taylor Mastropasqua, a sophomore on the Mercer County Community College (MCCC) women’s soccer team, was selected as the college’s 2019 representative for the National Association for Girls and Women in Sports (NAGWS) Day.
Now in its 33rd year, this annual awards ceremony was held at Seton Hall University on Feb. 3. This year, the event operated under the theme “Lead Her Forward,” which honored the ways in which sports pushes female athletes to reach their full potential.
A graduate from Hightstown High School in East Windsor, Mastropasqua’s senior year was upended by a bout with compartment syndrome, which causes a pressure buildup in the calf muscles. Following surgery, she decided to attend Mercer as a way to both get back on the soccer field and begin her education in exercise science.
In her freshman year, Mastropasqua quickly made an impact on the team. She saw 14 starts in 15 games as a forward. Through the course of the season, Mastropasqua racked up five of Mercer’s 25 goals while posting a team-high 23 percent on shots on goal.
Though that team ended the year with a 4-10-1 record, Mastropasqua quickly made an impact on the team with her leadership.
“Taylor is a solid soccer player,” said Head Coach Elyse Diamond. “Her role on the team was a very positive one and she was completely committed to Mercer soccer.”
Mastropasqua’s leadership came to a head in the 2018 season, when the team needed her to transition from offense to defense. Diamond said, “We moved Taylor to a central defender position mid-season, and she proved to be a very versatile player.” Even after switching roles, Mastropasqua managed to lead the team in assists, with six on the year.
“I really liked the transition to defense,” Mastropasqua reflected. “I hadn’t played defense for a really long time. The first game was rocky but I eventually fell in love with the position.”
Despite her own accomplishments, Mastropasqua doesn’t undersell the importance of her team. She noted that after a tough start to the season, the Lady Vikings rallied together, which helped her teammates earn recognition as well. This season, freshman forward Jamie Ervin and sophomore midfielder Karissa Estelle were also named to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division 1 All Region 19 team.
As she finishes up her sophomore year at Mercer, Mastropasqua is ready for the challenges ahead. She is set to enroll at William Paterson University, where she will continue her defensive soccer career while preparing for a degree in physical education.
“Through all the ups and downs this season, Coach Diamond helped to teach us about perseverance,” Mastropasqua said. “That’s definitely something I’ll carry with me moving forward.”