There is no one more respected in the Lancaster High School girls soccer locker room that senior captain Emma Sisti. When the team found out there was going to be a story done on her everyone wanted to make sure we knew what type of person she was - and how loved she is.
It’s no surprise that when she went down with season ending injury that the wheels fell off the bus for the Legends. With expectations being high for this club, the Legends limped to the playoffs with a 7-9 record and a number five seed.
They missed their captain in the back end. Sisti was the glue that has kept the defense together. Without her on the field, other players had to play out of position to make up for her play. But, what they missed more on the pitch may have been her leadership.
It’s a lot different when you are sitting on the bench in street close. You can try and lead all you want, but players may not respond like they would do if you were on the pitch. The team missed her leadership on the pitch.
When you look back there and the rock of the defense isn’t there it could be deflating. This is how much Sisti is respected.
“It’s an honor to have the respect of my teammates and for them to look to me for leadership. The girls on my team are family to me and I care and love them all. I’m always talking on the field and giving positive feedback to my teammates, and I think being so vocal it helps me earn the respect. The other day one of my teammates asked me if I had one mean bone in my body and I responded with “Not usually but ask my brother!,” stated Sisti. “I feel more responsible. I feel that I am well trusted and that people can talk to me and ask me anything. My communication skills have grown and it will help me with tasks in the future. Being a captain is an honor and it’s always been something I’ve wanted to do. This being my last year it’s just the icing on the cake.”
This interview was done before Sisti’s season ending injury at East Aurora High School. It was a battle between two of the best teams in Western New York . Sisti’s injury was a fluke one - but that’s how the game goes.
It wasn’t the first time she was injured. She battled back from a torn ACL, and never stopped playing her type of game. Before, and after, her injury Sisti would like to make life miserable for opposing teams who dare try to test her down the wings.
She is a physical defender who doesn’t mind making the opposing players know they are in for a battle.
“I like to play physical. Being physical is part of the game,” stated Sisti. “I use my body a lot to shield the ball and to protect my goalie. I have an aggressive style of play even after coming back from a major soccer injury (I tore my ACL).”
Before her latest injury, Sisti was part of a very potent attack that saw Lancaster attack the opposing teams on the wings. With the defenders joining the midfield and playing more of a 3-5-2 formation, it gave Sisti a chance to get back to her roots.
Before becoming a shut down defender, Sisti was a midfielder. So, this new formation played right into her strengths. It allowed her to join the rush, and to clog up the midfield - which stymied the other teams.
“This year we are playing a new formation where the outside defense move up to become midfielders,” stated Sisti. “This transition is easy for me because I have played midfield in the past. I’m comfortable with carrying the ball up the field and getting into offensive play.”
She is also comfortable with being aggressive - which is funny to some of her teammates. She might be the most mild mannered soccer player on the pitch. But, don’t get her mad. She has a mean streak that can only be seen on the pitch.
Even when she gets “mean” it’s still nicer than most players who get mean. Maybe it’s a kill them with kindness kind of thing on the pitch. Maybe it’s just her personality.
“I’m okay with being left off the score sheet because I’d rather my goalie have a clean sheet. As long as we are keeping the ball in the offensive zone I’m doing my job,” stated Sisti. “Having a easy-going personality helps me keep cool on the field and helps me make smart decisions. Off the field I am very easy to talk to and well liked by others.”
Besides being well liked by it seems like everyone in Western New York, Sisti is a top student. She takes the student in student-athlete very seriously. Soccer can get her where she needs to be, but her grades will allow her to be what she wants to be.
Without good grades it doesn’t matter how well you play on the pitch if you can get on it. Sisti takes her grades and schooling very seriously - and it shows.
“Soccer has given me my best friends and a sense of family. Without soccer I wouldn’t be as good at teamwork, problem solving, time management and communication. I’m going to cherish every moment I’ve made these past four years in high school,” stated Sisti. “I take school very seriously. I have been on the honor roll since seventh grade. I am very involved in school. I am a member of the National Honor Society, Healthcare Academy and Student Union as well as playing two sports. I think being a well rounded student is very important for all aspects of life. I plan on attending college for nursing and eventually be a nurse practitioner.”