Sewickley Academy athlete of the week: JJ Jardini

Tuesday, October 8, 2019 | 11:46 AM

JJ Jardini

School: Sewickley Academy

Sport: Girls Soccer

Class: Junior

Claim to fame: JJ Jardini scored two goals and added an assist in three games, and it’s not just the stat sheet that makes her an invaluable athlete on Sewickley Academy’s girls soccer team. Her competitiveness and positive attitude have been key to the Panthers success in a season plagued by injuries, coach Jessica Peluso said.

How did you get the nickname JJ?

My first and last name, Jacquelyn Jardini. My middle name has nothing to do with it. My first name was my grandmother’s name, and my great uncle was nicknamed JJ, so it came from both of them.

Sewickley Academy is one of two Section 3-A teams to score at least two goals on Freedom this season, and you had an assist and goal against them. How did your goals happen?

They have a great back line. One of their players is so fast and strong, so it’s hard to get past her. We tried to work it to one side and cross it to the other to draw her out and play the middle. That happened at the beginning, so I had a breakaway where I drew the goalie out and put it behind her. The second time was the same down the left side, got it to the right side of the field where I crossed it toward the left. Mary Grace Gordon shot it right from inside the 18, hit the cross bar and it bounced in.

Your coach called you the “backbone of the offense.” What does that mean to you?

That’s really nice. One of our girls left to do Swiss semester in Switzerland, and I tried to learn a lot from her. Also, Elsa Gordon is really a great athlete. I just try to copy what I’ve seen them do.

Who do you work well with offensively?

I work really with Mary Grace. She is a freshman and knows what she’s doing, and I love the backline. They see the whole field and give us little reminders. I like playing it back to them for them to go to someone who is open.

Would you rather score a game-winning goal with a great shot or give someone else an assist to seal a win?

I think I’d rather give an assist, because there have been a couple times where someone else has had a great cross and I’ve just kind of tapped it in and get all the credit. I just feel terrible, because it really wasn’t my play. I just finished it, so I’d rather try to do that for someone else.

You’re a three-sport athlete in soccer, basketball and lacrosse. What do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy basketball the most. I’ve played it my whole life, and I looked up to my cousins who played it. I just enjoy it a lot.