There are elevated expectations this fall for Branford girls’ soccer, which is coming off a landmark 2012 campaign that saw the Hornets claim their first-ever SCC title. So far in 2013, Jen Kohut’s squad is living up to those expectations as Branford owns a record of 7-0 and won all three of its games this week, each of which was on the road.
The Hornets first earned a 1-0 victory at Law on Sept. 23, prevailed at Oronoque rival North Haven 3-1 two days later, and then capped the week by notching a 3-1 win at another division opponent in Cross/Hillhouse/Career on Sept. 27.
“We have a team full of soccer players—not just athletes—and last year they realized what they can do,” said Kohut, who’s in campaign No. 16 as head coach. “It’s a driven group that’s focused and shows up every day with a smile. The coaching staff is excited about our start and I think we’re going to have a great season.”
The Hornets began last week with their 1-0 triumph versus Law at Milford. Branford netted the game’s line goal six minutes in when Sara Consolo converted a cross from fellow junior midfielder Rachel Cholewinski. Senior keeper Becca Vitale made one save in posting her third shutout for the Hornets, who outshot Law 13-2. Coach Kohut said that it was “a sloppy game,” yet was still glad to see her team pull out the victory.
“It wasn’t our best game, but we got away with one and still got the win,” said Kohut, who’s assisted by JV Coach Katie Rebeschi and Billy Alessi. “We were a little slow to get going and had a lot of shots that weren’t finished and went over the top. What saved us was that we controlled the ball and limited their shots.”
Kohut felt her club played a much better game in winning at North Haven 3-1 on Sept. 25. Consolo scored the first goal on a cross by Cholewinski and then Izzy Suppa put home a rebound for her first goal of the year from fellow senior captain midfielder Tanya Altrui and a 2-0 lead. The Indians cut it to 2-1 right before halftime, but Altrui’s insurance goal 20 minutes into the latter half sealed the win for Branford, which had 25 shots on net to North Haven’s 10. Vitale had eight saves.
The win was particularly important since North Haven is a division opponent. Last year, Branford shared the Oronoque title with the Indians and East Haven and Kohut’s team wants to claim the crown outright this year. So far, the Hornets have defeated each division opponent and are 3-0.
“It was a big win for us. Playing at North Haven is always a tough game, especially at night because the grass is wet and the ball gets slippery,” Kohut said. “We came in ready to play and it was huge to walk out of there with a win.”
Branford then notched another Oronoque win by beating Cross/Hillhouse/Career 3-1 in New Haven. Cholewinski scored two goals with an assist, Altrui scored the other goal, and Consolo and junior midfielder Emma Pottenger had assists.
In addition to Suppa, Altrui, and Vitale, Branford’s senior class consists of forwards Alexa Ciarleglio and Shyla Coughlin, plus defender Hannah Milles.
The Hornets’ juniors are Cholewinski (5 goals, 4 assists on the season), Consolo (2 goals, 4 assists), forward Kara Nardella, midfielders Cassidy McCarns, and Emma Pottenger; plus defender Alyssa Case.
The sophomore class consists of forwards Raissi Bysiewicz, Jenna Vitale, and Carolyn Caminear; defenders Jessie O’Connor and Issy Bysiewicz, goalie Foley Riggs, and Maddy Guglielmi.
Branford also has two freshmen on the varsity roster in forward/midfielder Morgan Ashby and defender Maddy Rowe.