Sciancalepore’s ‘aura’ helps lead Rider to success

By Dylan Manfre

Women’s soccer Head Coach Drayson Hounsome said there were not many weaknesses about starting sophomore goalkeeper Ellie Sciancalepore in a receent interview.

Everyone has faults though, right? It is rare for a head coach to not point out anything glaringly wrong about a player’s game. Nobody is perfect. What has impressed him most are two things: her field presence and her consistency.

Sciancelepore was able to maintain a level of success in the spring when the team had a condensed schedule because of the pandemic.

“She doesn’t really have any weaknesses,” Hounsome said. “She’s just strong. Decision making are obvious areas that will continue to develop and improve with experience.”

Sciancalepore is the type of goalkeeper to remain even-keeled in tough situations. Whether it is a tough loss, such as Rider’s 1-0 defeat to Saint Peter’s on Oct. 6, or an exciting win, she never gets too high or too low.

Emotional intelligence is a high priority for the sophomore and is something she prides herself on and reaps the daily benefits.

“Emotional intelligence just means being aware of who you are, being aware of how you express yourself and also understanding that it can affect others,” Sciancelepore said. “When we’re on the field if I have a sourpuss on my face and I’m really down because of a goal that just went in the net, that’s going to translate to every other girl.”

Sciancalepore is constantly working on remaining neutral in those tough situations and those struggles are the reason for her sharpening her mentality. 

The mental work she puts in has led her to know that her energy influences the rest of the team. If she did not work on her emotional intelligence, she believed she could not be the top netminder at Rider.

“Truthfully, I don’t think so at all,” she said. “I’m a very passionate person and sometimes my emotions come out a little harsher, sometimes they may not come out as strong. Being able to learn how to project them and channel them is an important skill.”

One of the things Hounsome noted when he was recruiting Sciancelepore was her field presence and the “aura” she brought to her teammates.

Once upon a baller

Sciancalepore was once a budding basketball player. Her mother and brother played. Her brother wanted to play in college but that never transpired. Being a former basketball player is something she thinks not many people know about her, yet it is still an important part of her life.

She was a pretty decorated player too. Sciancalepore was an All-Morris County and All-Conference forward at Randolph High School, leading her team in 2020 to a North I Group IV Sectional Championship.

Not only that, she hit the game-winner with one second left on the clock in the championship game securing the victory over Hackensack. According to an NJ.com article, it was the school’s first sectional title since 1990.

She discovered midway through her freshman year of high school that playing college soccer was realistic. She switched from playing recreational soccer to STA Morris United. There, she realized that she was good enough to carve out a soccer career.

Ultimately, Sciancelepore never saw her life without soccer in it. 

“I love [basketball,]” Sciancelepore said. “But soccer is where it’s at.”

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