Preview of 2018 high school girls' soccer

ECC Division I

East Lyme

Coach: Rachel Redding (14th year)

Key returnees: Sr. Laura Agbayani, Sr. Phoebe Provencher, Sr. Sarah Christensen, Sr. J'Naya Kelly, Sr. Connie Tang, Jr. Alivia Catanzaro, Jr. Angie Venditti, Jr. Avery Owen, Jr. Sophie Taylor, Jr. Grace Wargo, So. Isabelle Johnson, So. Anna O'Connor, So. Caitlin O'Dea.

Top newcomers: Jr. Emma Belleville, Jr. Anna McCusker, Fr. Margaret Dunne, Fr. Meredith Healy, Fr. Lillian Massung, Fr. Ella Mazzulli, Fr. Caitlin White, Fr. Malorie Buller.

Outlook: East Lyme lost All-Area picks Karlie Rowe (forward), Isabelle Riker (defense) and Hayley Sorrentino (goalie) from last year's team which reached the Class L semifinals, but the Vikings have a number of freshmen who have stood out in the preseason in addition to a still-experienced core group, leaving Redding "excited" to see what's to come. East Lyme, which finished 11-7-4 a year ago, will find out what it's made of quickly, facing rival Waterford and defending Class S champion Old Lyme in the first week of the season. Catanzaro was an All-ECC and All-Area selection at midfield and Venditti was an All-ECC honorable mention selection.

Fitch

Coach: Jasmine Zubek (1st year)

Key returnees: Sr. F Valentina Silva, So. F/M Avery Lyon, Jr. M Maddie Lynch, So. M Ashley Spreng, Sr. D Katrina Corbiel.

Top newcomer: Fr. D Katelyn Cervini.

Outlook: Zubek, Fitch's third head coach in as many years, hopes to bring some stability to a program that went 5-8-3 a year ago and qualified for the ECC and Class L state tournaments, returning some key players. Lynch has been a fixture since her freshman year, was an ECC Division I all-star selection and anchors an experienced midfield that includes Lyon and Spreng. Zubek believes the Falcons will be competitive within the division and challenge for postseason berths again.

NFA

Coach: Kyle Baron (2nd year)

Key returnees: Sr. M Juliette Hogan, Sr. M Natalie Dionne, Sr. G Allyson Knorr-Anderson, Sr. D Maddy Perrino, Jr. D Lauren Cloke, Jr. D Courtney Cyr, Jr. M Abigail Tucker. Jr. M Mackenzie Teper, Jr. D Faith Beauchamp, So. F Kayla Park, So. F Cassidy White, So. D Natalia Hogan, So. D Jillian Brunelli.

Top newcomers: Sr. D Morgan Intravia, Sr. D Madelyn Fishkin, Sr. F. Vanessa Bartlett, Jr. D Kayla Redanz-Swett, Jr. D Megan Daley, So. G Anna Hebert, So. D Teagan White, Fr. G Caitlin Daley, Fr. M Hannah Daniewicz.

Outlook: The Wildcats were one of the ECC's biggest surprises during Baron's first season, winning the Division I title, reaching the ECC tournament semifinals and finishing 12-7-1. NFA returns the bulk of its lineup, including All-Area performers Hogan and Park, and has talent and experience throughout its lineup. Baron expects the Wildcats to contend for the ECC Division I and tournament championships and compete well in the always-strong Class LL state tournament.

ECC Division II

Ledyard

Coach: Emily Lehet (2nd year)

Key returnees: Sr. M Ally Van Volkenberg, Sr. D Abby Campbell, Jr. G Savannah Wahrer, Jr. D Karissa Paul, So. M Abby Dirico.

Top newcomers: Fr. M Emily Evans, So. M Natalie Poulton.

Outlook: The Colonels went 7-7-2 during the regular season in 2017, qualifying for the ECC and Class M state tournaments, but are rebuilding this fall after graduating eight seniors. They do return one of the ECC's top forwards in Van Voldenberg, a first-team Division I all-star last season, and some experienced defenders. "Our schedule is much tougher this season," Lehet said, "but I am optimistic that we will be competitive." Lehet believes Ledyard can qualify for the postseason again.

Waterford

Coach: Chris Ghiglia (5th year)

Key returnees: Sr. M Julia Karlberg, Sr. M Julia Florek, Sr. F Ciana Chiappone, Sr. M Riva Blinderman, Jr. F Claudia Blazquez, So. D Jackie Pucciio, So. D Kendra Gregg, So. K Mya Rheaume, So. F Olivia Larned, Jr. F Faith Cervera, Jr. F Anna Kovacs, Jr. D Virginia Juarbe, So. M Livy Davidson, Jr. D Riley Mazzella.

Top newcomers: Fr. M Aimee Girard, Fr. D Nicole Li, Fr. G Mckenzie Gregory, Fr. F Emily Gates.

Outlook: The Lancers went 7-8-1 during a rebuilding season, but upset Montville in the ECC tournament and Plainfield in the first round of the Class M state tournament. Ghiglia hopes to build off of that late-season success and, despite the loss of two-time all-state midfielder Jacklyn Lavoie to graduation, the bulk of the 2017 team returns. Defense is a strength, but Ghiglia said, "to reach our potential we need attacking players to be more effective in the attacking third of the field."

ECC Division III

Montville

Coach: April Parady-Walter (6th year)

Key returnees: Sr. Kara Beaupre, Sr. Micahela MacCracken, Sr. Olivia Meehan, Sr. Katelin Price, Sr. Lauren Ross, Sr. Lauren Velazquez, Jr. Alexis DeLuca, Jr. Sydney Winakor, So. Elie Bowman, So. Kiera MacCracken, So. Alexis Meehan, So. Jillian Murallo.

Top newcomers: Fr. Julia Beaupre, Fr. Madelyn Koning.

Outlook: Parady-Walter returns after missing the 2017 while on maternity leave and must replace six senior starters from a team that went 10-5-1. The Indians, however, have plenty of senior leadership again led by Velazquez, an ECC Division II first team all-star last season, and some talented underclassmen. "The current seniors have played together for over a decade now and have a natural chemistry that allows the underclassmen to follow their lead with ease," said Parady-Walter, who hopes Montville can make deeper runs in the ECC and Class M state tournaments this fall.

New London

Coach: Kristina Ciotto (1st year)

Key returnees: Sr. D Bria Fielding, Jr. G Jaelynn Potter.

Top newcomers: Fr. M Liv Goode, Fr. D Emily Fielding.

Outlook: Ciotto takes over a team that went 3-12-1 a year ago and returns experienced players in defender Bria Fielding and Potter in goal. After struggling in Division I, the Whalers move down to Division III in the new realignment and hope to be competitive with Griswold, Montville, St. Bernard and Stonington. "We're excited for a fresh start," said Ciotto, who will be bolstered a a solid group of freshmen. "The team has been working extremely hard during the preseason."

St. Bernard

Coach: Shane Clarke (5th year)

Key returnees: Sr. D Meghan Bergeron, Sr. M Hope D'Amico, Jr. M Victoria Hannaford, Jr. M Caroline Codner, Jr. D Taina Quinones, Jr. G/D Carly Potts, So. F Lindsay Clement, So. D Sophia Videll, So. G/D Olivia Massad.

Top newcomers: Fr. D Erin Londregan, Fr. M Elizabeth Hannaford, Fr. F Haley Jennings.

Outlook: The Saints must replace some key seniors from a 10-5-1 team, including three ECC Division III first team all-stars, so Clarke must be patient early as some of his younger players experience growing pains. "We have a lot (of players) to replace, but the early signs look good," Clarke said. "We should continue to improve over the season and I believe we should be pretty solid by state tournament time."

Stonington

Coach: Jennifer Solomon (1st year)

Key returnees: Sr. D Jess Detwiler, Sr. D Holly Foster, Sr. F Alex Jefson, Sr. M Kate Johnson, Sr. G Hannah Lamb, Sr. D Emma Sabbadini, Sr. M Lucy Sternberg, Jr. D Sydney Motherway, So. F/M Kaleigh Bolduc, So. M/D Amelia Caron, So. M/D Maggie Constantine, So. F/M Megan Detwiler, So. G Tori LoPresto, So. M Rachel Sabbadini.

Top newcomers: Sr. M Ainsley Johnstone, So. M Vanessa Benjamin, Fr. M Lindsey Labbe, Fr. M Corinne Steeno.

Outlook: Solomon, the former Jennifer Sullivan, returns to her alma mater to replace Dave Walsh, who retired after the 2017 season. The Bears struggled to a 3-12-1 record with a young team, but the bulk of the roster returns along with some key additions. "We have a lot of strong soccer players and great team chemistry, both key ingredients for a team looking to rebound from last season," Solomon said. Stonington should contend for a Division III title and a return to the postseason.

ECC Division IV

Wheeler

Coach: Jim Cervini (2nd year)

Key returnees: Sr. D Gracie Anderson, Sr. M Daniela Roy, Jr. D Lauren Rockwell, Jr. M Savannah Johnson.

Top newcomers: Fr. G Addie Hauptmann, Fr. F Katelyn Melinosky, Fr. M Leah Pion.

Outlook: Cervini continues to rebuild a program that went 1-14-1 a year ago and is part of a new Division IV that includes Lyman Memorial, Putnam, Tourtellotte and Windham. "This a young team ... very energetic and enthusiastic," said Cervini, who is hopeful the Lions can inch closer to a .500 season this fall.

Other

Old Lyme

Coach: Paul Gleason (7th year)

Key returnees: Sr. F Mya Johnson, Sr. D Caroline Wallace, Sr. M Danielle McCarthy, Sr. D Britney DeRoehn, So. F Kaylee Armenia, Jr. M Lydia Tinnerello, So. M Emily DeRoehn, So. D Ellery Zrenda.

Top newcomer: So. D Grace Lathrop.

Outlook: It was another magical season for the Wildcats, who went 16-0 during the regular season and won their third straight Class S state title. They have been hit hard by graduation, but do return one of the state's best players in Johnson, an All-New England player who already holds the school's career goals record (81) has been named The Day's All-Area Player of the Year twice. Wallace and Britney DeRoehn provide stability on defense, McCarthy and Tinnerello are experienced midfielders, and sophomores Armenia, Emily DeRoehn and Zrenda were significant contributors during the postseason run, so expect Old Lyme to be another dangerous team once it gets to the postseason.

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