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7th grade shutout: Middle school goalkeeper deepens friendships, improves skills

Riley+Keston+%28%E2%80%9929%29+defends+a+goal+during+practice.+She+has+been+playing+soccer+since+her+early+childhood%C2%A0and+said+she+has+become+closer+with+her+teammates+this+past+season.+Photo+by+Catalina+L%C3%B3pez-S%C3%A1nchez.
Riley Keston (’29) defends a goal during practice. She has been playing soccer since her early childhood and said she has become closer with her teammates this past season. Photo by Catalina López-Sánchez.

A soccer ball launches towards the goal. A blur of black and white, it closes in on the back of the net, inching closer and closer towards victory. That’s where seventh grader Riley Keston comes in to block the goal.

Keston has been playing soccer since she was young and joined the team at Archer in sixth grade. Three years ago, she transitioned to the goalkeeper position. She has continued to play this position on Archer’s middle school purple team.

Each week this season, Keston practiced Monday through Thursday alongside her team. She said this past season was especially successful. The team maintained an undefeated streak, ultimately advancing to PBL Finals, where their journey came to an end when they lost in overtime Friday, Feb 3. Riley Keston attributed their many victories to her team.

“I had a very good time last year … but I’ve never played with a bunch of really good club players before,” Keston said. “So this was my first ever incredible team I’ve ever been on, so I think that was a really cool experience.”

Riley Keston’s sister, Parker Keston (’25), said she is proud of her sister’s growth and development as a soccer player over the years. She added that their family has always been a “soccer family,” and seeing Riley carry out that legacy brings her joy — especially in how she handles pressure.

“My family has always kind of been a ‘soccer family.’ My dad played it, my uncle played it, I played it for a year. And so it kind of got passed down to my sister,” Parker Keston said. “I think the pressure … especially in her role as a goalie … sometimes, the fate of the team can rest on her shoulders.”

Riley Keston said the bonds she’s formed with her teammates this year are stronger than ever. During this past soccer season, she became close friends with Haley Lazarus (’29). Lazarus said she and Riley were already friendly before their time on the team together, and soccer has been the catalyst for the tight-knit friendship they have now.

“Last year, we weren’t as close. This year, we both joined the same friend group and started hanging out … more,” Lazarus said. “She’s really nice, and I love hanging out with her. She’s super sweet, and I’m really happy she was on our team this year.”

Parker Keston noted her sister’s dedication to her team and her continued improvement of her goalkeeping skills over the years.

“I think just her skill levels improved a lot … as a goalie, you kind of have to let balls be shot at your face and dive in the mud,” Parker Keston said. “She’s willing to do it because it means that she’s showing up for her team.”

Lazarus emphasized the excitement she and her fellow teammates feel when Riley Keston saves a goal from being scored.

“There have been a lot of games where we’ve been up one [to zero] … and the other team has gotten a shot, and we were like, ‘Oh, this is a good shot. This is going in,'” Lazarus said. “And then she just springs up [at the ball], and we all just get so excited.”

Riley Keston said although goalkeeping may not be widely viewed as the most exciting position to play, the patience and strategy required to fulfill it are worthwhile in the end.

“At times, it’s very hard because you just have to sit in a goal and watch everybody else just on the field,” Riley Keston said. “But when the ball finally comes to you and everybody just cheers once you catch the ball, it’s a great moment.”

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About the Contributor
Siena Ferraro, News Editor
Siena Ferraro joined the Oracle as a staff reporter in 2022. In 2023, she became News Editor. Outside of reporting for The Oracle, Siena leads the annual Used Book Fair and popup events, volunteers for For Goodness Cakes and tutors students in writing, history and executive functioning skills after school through Power Hour. In her free time, you'll likely find Siena reading for hours on end.

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