Look across the PVMHS sports landscape and you'll find one common factor inherent in many of the school's teams, consistency. These are programs that year in and year out find ways to compete with top-level competition around the state even through major turnover.
The Class of 2015 graduation pulled some brilliant athletes, in every sense of the term, away from the high school. But right on queue the lower classes have stepped up across the board.
This fall alone the football team has managed to return to the playoffs as a 4 seed and cross country had another fantastic winning season.
The kings, or queens rather, of stability may very well be one team continuing to make a mark in the aftermath of their 2011 state championship. Peabody Tanners girls soccer.
At 14-1-1 the team once again scorched to the NEC title this week and is now set to begin their tournament run on Wednesday. Despite losing an array of elite-level talent through the past few years they just keep winning.
Crucial to this has been elite leaders establishing themselves, seen notably on this roster in the sensational skill and determination of their shining captain Katrina Silva.
Katrina has long been a soccer stud. Being around the game from a young age, she has now played at the varsity level since her freshman year. That head start allowed her to learn alongside elite teammates, like Hayley Dowd, while developing herself into a tremendous athlete worthy of Division 1 college consideration as well.
Her arrival on the team in 2012, the direct aftermath of a state title, saw her held to a high bar immediately. This not only instilled a driving intensity in her game, but showcased what needs to be expected out of future groups like this one in 2015.
Next year Silva is committed to a Division 1 school, Delaware State University, an offer she accepted during her junior year showcasing just how outstanding her work has been on the field since freshman year.
One of my favorite fellow athletes at the school, I couldn't help but sit down and discuss the tremendous success of the girls soccer team and her thoughts on the striking rise of women's soccer in the U.S.
In your senior year now how have things changed for you since you began freshman year?
"I definitely grew not much is size but in muscle so I've been able to be a bigger impact in the middle. When I was a freshman I played the middle but wasn't as aggressive. I definitely got knocked down a lot more. I've become more vocal too."
What kind of changes has the team undergone year to year in that time?
"When I was a freshman, I made it the year after we were state champs so our team was really good. We only lost two starters...and we were predicted to win the state championship. We had players like Hayley Dowd who plays at BC, Victoria who went to UMass Lowell, we had a lot of D1 players. I'm not saying we got worse but we don't have that natural talent so it has been a change and we have to work twice as hard at practice. We used to not run, now we do. Overall we always win our league, so we're doing the same as we did before but its definitely harder and we have to focus more at practice."
What has allowed this program as a whole to stay so consistent year to year? It feels like you are one of the stronger programs at the school, as you've said you've lost a lot of talent of the years but have maintained such a strong presence?
"I think one is our coach and second is our youth program. Soccer is a very big deal when you're younger to play travel. So I think the Peabody Youth Soccer at Kennedy is a big deal and the coaches are great, they set them up for high school pretty well. Some players play club which helps out, that's outside league soccer against good competition. And Coach D he puts so much effort and time into things and if we're playing a team he knows exactly how to beat them. So he helps us out a lot. He's been coach of the year like four, five years straight."
Are those youth programs something you were involved in?
"Yeah, you make the team in third grade and you start playing in fourth."
What has your role on the team been this year as a captain, are you more of a vocal leader or do you try to lead by example?
"I'm a vocal leader but I've toned down the vocalness to try to help show people with where to go and where to be. I play a lot of different positions from all the different soccer teams I play for so I understand a lot of positions. I try to help people out that way and I also like to make big tackles to amp up the team and raise the intensity level."
So you won the NEC of course this week and are heading into the tournament, when does that begin?
"I think next Wednesday...but we might have a bye depending on how many teams get into the tournament."
What are you expecting compared to the regular season games?
"Its definitely going to be way more competitive because some of the teams in our league are really really good and others are just not at our level. So every game is going to be a competition and if we want to win we're going to have to give 100% heart. Which I sometimes see we're lacking. But if we give 100% heart we can definitely make it far."
Compared to the rest of the state is the NEC known as a strong girls soccer conference?
What are your feelings on women's soccer as a whole it feels like its really starting to become a force as you saw with the USA team a couple years back, its starting to become very popular have you noticed that?
"In the U.S. it has been...they just got a new team...they have the Boston Breakers. So they're expanding in the US but if you got to places in Europe the girls soccer teams are still unrecognized. But in the U.S. I would say women's soccer takes priority over mens."
Do you feel like its becoming a legitimate force, do you think say in 10 years its going to become a popular sport that a lot of people want to follow?
"Yeah, definitely even boys soccer has grown in the US and I think girls soccer is just going to take over once the European countries get used to it. It is going to be a big deal"
What higher level women's soccer athletes do you look up to, are there any you admire?
"I look up to a lot, mostly Alex Morgan she seems pretty cool. She leads by example, I wouldn't say she's very vocal but she's a forward. There are a lot of people, the whole back line of US team is really good they're all tall, I'm not tall. But they seem like they're really chill and lead their team really well, they don't seem cocky. So I'm into that."
Are you a big soccer fan as a whole, are you always around it?
"Well my dad is from Portugal so soccer is always on in the background on our TV, he's always watching the Portuguese leagues. So Porto is my team, I always root for Portugal in the World Cup and not the USA and I love Christiano Ronaldo...its a little selfish but I love how he plays on my team. Yeah I keep track of it."
So I heard you committed to Delaware State last year, what prompted you to commit so early?
"A couple girls on my club team committed, I think it was three before me so some if it had to do with money and I had a couple offers. It just seemed like the right fit, she said that if I continued my play I'd be starting which is a big deal as a freshman. I love the school, I love the people, the coach is really nice. So it seemed like a great deal and I want to go down south."
How many times have you been down there now, what do you like most about the place?
"Two times and I'm going down a third time once soccer season ends. I like how the campus is like a home kind of, everything is together...it feels like a home to me. And I love how the dorms are really big."
I wanted to talk too about the leg hair tradition, how long has that been around and when did that get started?
"I honestly don't know, you know Ms. Postarero? It was around when she was here so its been around for a long time. We are proud of our leg hair, the Halloween dance is tonight and I don't think our whole soccer team is going, but the girls who are here will definitely be showing off their leg hair. People like it."
Are you a fan?
"I love the leg hair, I take pictures. It's the best part."
Heading towards the end of your senior year what do you want to be remembered for most in your time here?
"Thats a tough question, I just want to be remembered I guess for being a good person overall. I don't care about me on the soccer field. I just want people to look up to me and remember me as a good leader."
What are you going to be looking to accomplish on and off the field in college do you have any idea what you want to do there?
"Probably marketing, I'm majoring in business administration and minoring in marketing. But I'm not positive, I love talking to people and I like doing math so I think it'd be pretty good for me. I definitely want to get all A's in school, I don't want to slack. High school I slacked a little bit."
What types of challenges are you looking towards on the field at that level of play obviously its going to be a much faster, more competitive?
"Exactly a lot of people are going to be bigger than me so this winter I'm going to be focusing on getting bigger, gaining more muscle. Its tough when you're 5 feet tall and you're playing against people that are 5'6", 5'7" or even bigger than that. Also I'm trying to work on my quickness cause I play outside back, I make a mean slide tackle. I'm just going to work on getting by players 1 v. 1 and moving forward"
How big of a deal is size in soccer is that something that is hard to overcome?
"It's kind of a big deal because balls are always in the air and if someone is taller than you I like to pick up with my quickness and my speed so I can always recover. I never let the girl get by me...I'd rather play it safe."
So what are you looking to accomplish before the year ends in soccer and in school?
"Hopefully, this is a small goal, but hopefully we can make it to Division 1 North Finals. We want to make it to states but Division 1 North, I can definitely see us making it there. For school, try not to get the senior slide."