RADNOR – Jane Daiutolo didn’t dream about Radnor’s full potential in the playoffs until the Raptors took revenge on Villa Maria and officially qualified for the States. Her sister, Emily, reached an epiphany much earlier.
The first 40 minutes of football in the 2021 season were not in Radnor’s direction, and a second-half concession saw Radnor lose 2-0 to Agnes Irwin in the season opener of 3 September. Thirty minutes later, thanks to the Daiutolo twins in midfield and a winner from Kate Boujoukos with 11 seconds left, the Raptors had escaped with a 3-2 victory.
The result of a first non-league exercise would clearly not change the direction of the season. But how Radnor got there, Emily supposed this afternoon, might well.
“I feel like that mentality held with us the rest of the season,” Emily said last week. “If we were prepared to work this hard for (this game) and never give up, we would keep going until the end of the season, and I feel like that was evident in a lot of our games.
Consider this another example of Emily’s exquisite vision on the soccer field.
From this first victory, Radnor will go to the state final. He weathered the peaks and valleys of a Central League that produced a pair of State finalists (Conestoga was the 4A finalist) to win the District 1 Class 3A title and reach the program’s first PIAA final in 21 years. .
The two Daiutolo sisters were in the middle of this effort, literally and figuratively. Jane was the top supplier with 13 assists from her attacking midfielder position, her set piece threat freeing the Raptors from a lot of tight scrapes. She also scored six goals. Emily was the team’s top scorer with 10 goals. As the centerpiece of the midfielder, his two-way play fueled everything Radnor did, from his cerebral defensive presence to his composure on the ball, the metronome that kept the rest of the midfielder in time. .
For this influence, Emily Daiutolo is the Daily Times Girls Football Player of the Year in 2021.
Jane Daiutolo joins Emily in the First All-Delco team, along with teammate Radnor Olivia Kelley; the Episcopal Academy trio of Maya Naimoli, Kendal Elison and Quinn Whitaker; Springfield duo Carly Walters and Coryn Silberstein; Adria Kitzinger of Ridley; Mackenzie Lacey of Haverford; Audrey Cain of Notre-Dame; and Mia Zebley from Garnet Valley.
All are first-time winners, as there was no All-Delco team last fall due to pandemic-related disruption. The first team consists of five juniors and a freshman (Whitaker). All-Delco teams are selected in consultation with area coaches.
• • •
With their relative strengths, it’s easy to imagine that Emily and Jane always looked to the opposite sides of the ball, which is partially correct. But despite their comfort in this part of the park, the midfielders are naturally not either. Emily started off as a center-back and tried her hand at the back on the outside. Jane’s skills have always been adapted to the offensive element, as a striker or an attacking midfielder.
Emily’s defensive instincts are clear in the 360-degree demands of the midfield outfit. She was Radnor’s main conduit in building with the ball, setting the tone for when and how to move forward. Radnor was also adept at defending with the ball, using possession to cushion attacks and tire opponents. Emyy’s center-back toolbox, with its ability to take on challenges or do long recovery sprints, was wielded in tough times, and usually with great effect.
“I feel like I’ve been playing defense for so long, I know what it takes to play in a defensive midfield,” said Emily. “I know where I need to be for my defenders, and Jane always tells me where I need to be when I’m playing on offense, so I feel like I have a good idea of where to be and what to do on both sides of the ball. It’s certainly a big responsibility, but I’ve had the most amazing teammates around me to support me all season, and I couldn’t ask for better.
One of these teammates obviously stands out. Emily and Jane have been playing together since second grade. Born two minutes apart – Jane is older – they brought together their low-key skills in different areas. But the chance to unite in the midfield and build on their connection has always been a possibility. It was a long time the dream of their father, Scott, a college football player and their first coach.
Radnor provided this opportunity this year, and the rewards have been immense. The combination of twin intuition and years of practice manifested in a strange sense of where the other was. Particularly of Emily shooting balls forward in the space Jane would occupy a moment later with her searing attacks, the chemistry was undeniable. This has led to Daiutolo’s five goals at Daiutolo this season, but the last two touches underestimate how often the brotherly bond has led to dangerous chances.
“It’s just playing together our whole life, and I feel like I know every move she’ll make,” Emily said. “She knows the pass I’m going to play, and I know the run she’s going to run.”
The same goes for the joy between them, a flesh-and-blood microcosm of the larger family atmosphere that Radnor cultivated and used in times of high pressure.
“It’s really cool to have someone who is always by my side on the pitch, someone who gives me a lot of comfort,” said Jane. “It’s really awesome.”
The results were also quite impressive. Emily’s highlights included a double-overtime penalty to beat Downingtown West in the regular season. She also buried a penalty kick in the 78th minute of the PIAA quarter-final to send Radnor to a double overtime victory.
Both sisters have contributed from their first season. It gave them a unique perspective on how to support other young players. It is no coincidence that the bulk of Radnor’s postseason goals came from a bumper crop of freshmen and sophomores, benefiting from the midfield platform formed by the Daiutolos. .
As Radnor fell right next to the ultimate win, losing to Mars Area in state final overtime, the trip far exceeded anything players had imagined. With weeks to go into the end of the season, the appreciation for what they have accomplished has only intensified for Emily.
“I wouldn’t change a thing,” Emily said. “It was the most amazing experience to be there. I remember watching the State Finals as a freshman and thinking, oh my God, what an honor it would be to get there. And I never really thought myself that Radnor would end up going because it had been a long time since we had been able to accomplish something like this. But when we did, it was just right. the most amazing feeling, win or lose.