Four hands on deck; Spartans excel with two-goalie rotation

There’s an old saying that if you have two starting quarterbacks, you have no starting quarterbacks, but St. Mary’s High School girls soccer coach Jim Foley is more than happy to have two starting goalies on his team.

Senior Angela Dandreo of Swampscott and junior Bailey Bruckmann of Walpole form a potent 1-2 combination in the net for the Lady Spartans (5-5-1), who hope to be in the mix for a state title run later this month. The two talented athletes have been splitting the game minutes, with Dandreo starting the first half and Bruckmann taking over in net for the second half.

Their soccer backgrounds are dramatically different. Dandreo, who already has five (three hockey, two softball) high school state championship rings on her impressive resume, took up soccer as a sophomore, becoming the full-time starting goalie a year ago.

“It’s been good coaching,” said Dandreo, crediting Foley for her progress as a soccer player.

It certainly helps that Dandreo is a sure-handed first baseman for the softball team and an outstanding defenseman for the hockey team.

“Angela has great hands and great instincts,” said Foley. “She knows how to read the game, almost like she plays it like she plays softball – she has to make a play and catch the ball. She picked up the game of soccer very quickly and has made some big plays for us.”

Meanwhile, Bruckmann is a soccer specialist and brings national-caliber training and high-level competitive experience to the position of goalkeeper.

Bruckmann is a goalkeeper for the Stars of Massachusetts club team that also features Peabody High scoring sensation Hayley Dowd (“She’s just phenomenal,” says Bruckmann)

So how did a Walpole youth soccer star wind up in the St. Mary’s program?

Bruckmann’s uncle is none other than St. Mary’s Principal Carl DiMaiti. “I got to know the school and my cousins (Carol DiMaiti and Drew DiMaiti) go here,” said Bruckmann, who transferred to St. Mary’s last year. “I shadowed a couple of times and I just really liked the school. I love my teammates and it’s a lot of fun being goalie with Angela.”

“I’m very happy to have my cousin on the team,” said Carol DiMaiti. “She’s a great goalie. I’m happy to have her. We’re very close.”

Principal DiMaiti expounded on the topic.

“It’s kind of ironic that I have a daughter and a niece playing varsity soccer. It’s not something I anticipated five or six years ago. I think Bailey has really adjusted well to St. Mary’s, and despite the commute, I think she knows that she made a very good decision.”

Foley said Bruckmann and Dandreo work very well together and the team will be counting on their performances in the remaining games and in the state tournament. An upcoming rematch with Lynn English stands out on the calendar.

“Our two goalies working together has been beneficial to the team,” said Foley. “With Bailey’s experience and soccer being her main sport, she gives a lot of tips and input to Angela, which makes her better at goalkeeping. Coming all the way from Walpole, it’s a testament to Bailey how much she loves soccer and wants to play in our program.”

Angela Dandreo said her future sport of choice in college will be ice hockey. She lists Sacred Heart, New England College, Plymouth State, and Southern Maine among her selections.

Bailey Bruckmann is a highly regarded college soccer prospect and has received correspondences from several programs.

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