Last updated: February 19. 2013 4:32PM - 218 Views

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Freshmen are usually seen, but not heard from, during the state playoffs.

They get to take in the longer road trips and higher level of play often from the safety of the players' bench.

Crestwood has a handful of freshmen getting a closer look at the state playoffs, as there are three freshmen playing key roles for coach Elvetta Gemski's squad.

It's actually been really easy, freshman Ashleigh Thomas said. They've been great, giving me advice and helping me play better.

Thomas is just one of the members of the class of 2016 on the field regularly for the Comets. And she has excelled. She is second on the team in goals (15) and points (36). In her first state playoff appearance, she scored the winning goal Tuesday against Hamburg.

It's been a while, Gemski said of having so many freshmen on the field. We've had groups of freshmen making these kinds of contributions here in the past, but it has been a few years since we've had this many.

There's been very few growing pains despite the big roles. Elizabeth Dessoye is also a top scorer for Crestwood, and Hannah Ackers has emerged as a stopper in the midfield. Seven freshmen on the roster have provided great depth this season.

It was such an adjustment coming up from middle school to high school, Dessoye said of the style of play, though she was appreciative of her accommodating teammates. They've been very welcoming. This team is so easy to be a part of.

You have to adjust not just to the game, but to all of your new teammates, Ackers said. They all played together last year.

One of those teammates is Ackers' older sister, Chandler, a senior co-captain. The Iowa-bound standout is close to her sister off the field, and on.

Yeah, she kind of yells at me a lot, Hannah smiled. But it's really not yelling; she's doing what a big sister does. She's trying to help me. And it's not bad. It's good, positive reinforcement.

That's been the rock the Comets' success has been built upon. Dessoye still shares stories and gets pointers from sister Anna, a freshman starring at the University of Maryland now.

The juniors and seniors still with the club, like Chandler Ackers, also have been there for their new teammates.

The freshmen have seen their confidence grow as they get more games under their belts. Today's tilt with Selinsgrove actually offers some familiarity -- the Comets beat the Seals 1-0 on Sept. 8.

I know when we played them, they were a very good team, Elizabeth Dessoye said. I'm sure they've only gotten better as the season went on.

But so have the Comets.

Thomas had points in eight of nine games. Ackers picked up her first point against the Seals. Dessoye had points in five straight games after the trip to Selinsgrove.

In all, freshmen – including Kara Jarmiolowski and Hunter Pitman – have accounted for 31 percent of Crestwood's goals this season.

I'm really excited. We have grown so much as a team, Ackers said. We are playing so well now compared to where we were at the start of the season.

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