As part of our look into South Jersey girls’ soccer, we want to know a little bit more about some of the region’s players. Maddie Blanda, a senior defender at Haddon Heights, talked over a variety of things with reporter Mark Trible.
MT: Your team is off to a strong start. Is there any secret to your success?
MB: Well we practice really hard and do a lot of fitness. We have good team chemistry this year; we’re all good friends.
MT: What’s the toughest part about playing defense?
MB: On defense, you can’t really make mistakes. With other positions, if it goes behind you or something, you have someone who can clean it up. And you have a lot of pressure behind you.
MT: Is this where you thought you’d be this year or do you think you guys have exceeded expectations (11-2 record through Monday)?
MB: We definitely exceeded our expectations. Last year we had a good year, but we lost a lot of seniors.
MT: Favorite subject in school?
MB: Math. I’m good with numbers, and I don’t like reading.
MT: Do you have any future plans?
MB: I wanna go to school and do a four-year nursing program to become a nurse. I’ve looked at Rowan, Bloomsburg and Scranton. And I was thinking about East Carolina University, but I’m not sure about that one yet.
MT: Why nursing?
MB: I like to help people, and I want to be on my feet and not be in the office.
MT: I heard you’re quite a prankster. What are some pranks you’ve pulled off recently?
MB: This year, since it was our last year, we decided to do a week of pranks on (Coach Brad Kent). He doesn’t have hair, so we had our principal take him a basket of empty hair products one day. Then, we had them let us in the school the next night, and we got 1,000 balloons and put them in his classroom. The next day we got 4,000 sticky notes and covered his car with balloons on the back. The next day, we went to his house and TP’ed his house and put forks in his lawn.
MT: How’d he like that?
MB: He didn’t have a reaction to that. He thought the pranks were funny and wasn’t expecting any of them. The pranks kept coming, and I don’t know how he didn’t see the next ones coming.
MT: What sparked the pranks?
MB: I just like to mess around and make people laugh all the time. … Mr. Kent is one of my favorite people, he’s so fun to mess with, I figured why not do this, and the whole team agreed to it.
MT: Any goals for the rest of the season?
MB: I would want to win it all. And to have everyone get along. It’s my last year, even if we don’t win it all I would want everyone to have fun. It’s supposed to be fun.
MT: Best advice you’ve received?
MB: Just to always be positive. With my dad and mom, they always told me to bring people up and stay positive. It works with soccer too. If something happens bad, the best thing to do is to stay positive and help bring people through it.
MT: Favorite food?
MB: Mashed potatoes.
MT: What’s the most memorable moment of your high school career?
MB: Probably the prank week, honestly. Doing all that to Mr. Kent. Especially getting in his classroom. I didn’t think it was going to be possible, and we were able to do it.
MT: What’s your favorite team to play against?
MB: My favorite team this year is probably Audubon because we played them last year in the semifinals and lost to them. I love marking (Green Wave forward) Chelsea Fadio.
MT: What’s it like covering a star player like that?
MB: I get really nervous, but I try to tell myself it’s going to be fine, and my teammates help me out with that.
MT: What’s your favorite TV show?
MB: “One Tree Hill.”
MT: If you could be anyone other than yourself, who would it be?
MB: I guess honestly probably Nicki Minaj. Because she’s very outspoken and crazy, I don’t know, I like her personality.