2019 H.S. girls' soccer preview capsules

ECC Division I

East Lyme

Coach: Rachel Redding (15th season)

Key returnees: Sr. F Alivia Catanzaro, Sr. D Angie Venditti, Sr. G Avery Owen, Sr. M Sophie Taylor, Sr. D Grace Wargo, Sr. M Emma Belleville, Sr. M Anna McCusker, Jr. M Annie O'Connor, Jr. M Caitlin O'Dea, So. F Meredith Healy, So. D Ella Mazzulli, So. D Caitlin White.

Top newcomers: Sr. F Anazya Taylor, Jr. M Skylar Provencher, Jr. M Karenna Kung, Jr. M Isabella Mazzi, So. F Margaret Dunne, Fr. F Abigail Belleville, Fr. F Sarina McCollum.

Outlook: East Lyme featured a young lineup last season, with six freshmen on the varsity roster, and fought through growing pains, a rash of injuries and a challenging schedule while finishing an uncharacteristic 4-12-1 with four one-goal losses. This season, Redding looks for the Vikings to make their return to the state tournament with a more seasoned group, including a corps of dynamic young players now with a year of experience. Venditti was an All-ECC and All-Area selection a year ago on defense.

Fitch

Coach: Jasmine Zubek (2nd season)

Key returnees: So. D Katelyn Cervini, Sr. F Madelyn Catlett, Sr. F Madison Lynch, Jr. M Ashley Spreng, Jr. M Avery Lyon, Jr. M Kelsi Ursini, Sr. D Nevaeh Jones, Jr. D Carli Zingus, So. M Madeline Southers.

Top newcomer: Fr. F-M Hannah Hurley.

Outlook: The Falcons struggled last season, finishing 2-14, but things are looking up this season with the return of a veteran, versatile lineup that includes a pair of returning ECC Division I all-stars in Catlett and Lyon. Zubek expects Fitch to be more competitive in a strong division and possibly make a run at qualifying for the state tournament.

NFA

Coach: Taylor Shannon (1st season)

Key returnees: Sr. Mackenzie Teper, Sr. Abigail Tucker, Sr. Kayla Redanz, Jr. Jillian Brunelli, Jr. Natalia Hogan, Jr. Kayla Park, So. Hannah Daniewicz.

Top newcomers: Jr. Hannah Vega, Jr. Teagan White, Jr. Anna Hebert, So. Caitlin Daley, Fr. Alyssa Newson, So. Emily Eggler.

Outlook: Shannon takes over an NFA program which went 9-5-2 a year ago and reached the ECC Division I tournament semifinals before losing to eventual champion Woodstock Academy. The Wildcats return some veteran players, led by the dynamic Park, a three-year starter who was an ECC all-star and a member of The Day's All-Area team. Shannon expects NFA to be in the hunt for a division title.

ECC Division II

Stonington

Coach: Jennifer Solomon (2nd season)

Key returnees: Sr. D Emma Anderson, Sr. D Sydney Motherway, Sr. D Katie McNeil, Jr. M Vanessa Benjamin, Jr. D Amelia Caron, Jr. D Maggie Constantine, Jr. F Megan Detwiler, Jr. G Tori LoPresto, Jr. M Rachel Sabbadini, So. D Corinne Steeno.

Top newcomers: Jr. F Maysa Gray, So. D Ivy Goodman, So. D Katherine Glenn, Fr. G Kelsey Anderson, Fr. M Carley Constantine, Fr. M Helena Hoinsky, Fr. M Annaliese McGee, Fr. M Carleigh O'Keefe.

Outlook: The Bears move up to Division II this fall after sharing the Division III title with Montville, winning the ECC Division II tournament, and finishing 15-5-1 overall. Solomon returns an experienced group led by 2018 ECC all-stars Benjamin, Caron and Detwiler, and there is plenty of new talent to give Stonington solid depth.

Waterford

Coach: Chris Ghiglia (6th season)

Key returnees: Sr. F Khay Hatcher, Sr. F Clauda Blazquez, Sr. D Riley Mazzella, Sr. F Faith Cervera, Sr. F Anna Kovacs, Jr. M Kendra Gregg, Jr. D Livy Davidson, Jr. D Jackie Puccio, Jr. F Olivia Larned, Jr. G Mya Rheaume, So. M Nicole Li, So. M Aimee Girard, So. F Emily Gates, So. G McKenzie Gregory.

Top newcomers: Jr. F Lilly Abramowicz, So. F Lily Marelli, Fr. D Bryn Dickinson, Fr. M Marin Mahoney.

Outlook: The Lancers return a veteran cast, including a pair of experienced goalies in Gregory and Rheaume. Ghiglia believes Waterford will be able to control games better this fall with a more possession style that will start with an experienced group of defenders.

ECC Division III

Ledyard

Coach: Emily Lehet (3rd season)

Key returnees: Sr. M Lexi LaPerle, Sr. G Savannah Wahrer.

Top newcomers: Fr. M Jess English, Fr. D Delaney Vaudrey, Fr. F Sarah Bailey.

Outlook: The Colonels went 5-9-1 a year ago in a competitive Division II and move down to Division III this season. Lehet is confident Ledyard can qualify for both the ECC and state tournaments this season and loves the senior leadership of LaPerle and Wahrer, who have been an immense help getting a strong freshman class ready to contribute in their first year.

Montville

Coach: April Parady-Walter (7th season)

Key returnees: Sr. Alexis DeLucia, Sr. Sydney Winakor, Jr. Elie Bowman, Jr. Kiera MacCracken, Jr. Alexis Meehan, Jr. Jillian Murallo, So. Julia Beaupre, So. Madelyn Konig, So. Madisen Price.

Top newcomers: Jr. McKinley Bond, Sr. Aida Flores, Jr. Madison Gressley, So. Kelsey Chiasson, Fr. Kate Bowman, Fr. Addie Concascia, Fr. Bella Flores, Fr. Lily Tomczik.

Outlook: The Indians shared the regular-season Division III title with Stonington before losing to the Bears in the ECC tournament final. They finished 15-6 overall but must replace six starters. They do return a pair of ECC all-stars in Meehan and Murallo and still have the ability to compete for another division title. "We have a large group of versatile players allowing for many options and flexible movement when facing different opponents," Parady-Walter said.

New London

Coach: Kristina Ciotto (2nd season)

Key returnees: So. M Cassandra Roman, Jr. F Emilia Skrabacz, So. B Emily Fielding.

Top newcomer: Fr. M Drew LaFrance.

Outlook: The Whalers went 5-11 in Ciotto's first season and are hoping to improve that record and qualify for the state tournament this fall. New London is still young but returns a number of starters and Ciotto has been impressed with the Whalers' performance in the preseason.

St. Bernard

Coach: Shane Clarke (14th season)

Key returnees: Sr. M Victoria Hannaford, Sr. F Caroline Codner, Sr. D Taina Quinones, Sr. D Carly Potts, Sr. D Sophia Duhig, Jr. F Lindsay Clement, Jr. D Sophia Videll, Jr. G-D Olivia Massad, So. D-M Erin Londregan, So. M Elizabeth Hannaford, So. F Halie Jennings.

Top newcomers: Jr. M Aaliya Masters, So. G Lindsey Reilly, So. M-F Ariana Guinassi, So. D Isabella Pero, Fr. M Emily Hernandez, Fr. G Chloe Jennings, Fr. M-F Adeline Arvidson.

Outlook: This could be a big year for the Saints, who return nine starters led by all-state midfielder Victoria Hannaford and a strong senior class. St. Bernard is coming off a 9-6 season, but Clarke expects his team to compete for the division title and make a good run in the Class S state tournament. "We will be a very well-rounded team with contributions from all over the pitch and not one player dominating games," he said.

ECC Division IV

Wheeler

Coach: Kellie Palmer (1st season)

Key returnees: Sr. D Lauren Rockwell, Jr. D Jessica Johnson, Jr. D Kylie Groves, So. M Katelyn Melinosky, So. D Leah Pion, So. G Addie Hauptmann.

Top newcomers: Fr. F-M Eva Comeau, Fr. F-M Ava Davino, Fr. D Keelan Groves, Fr. F-M Brooke Dawrey, Fr. F-M Madison Perkins, Fr. D Peach Schroeder.

Outlook: The Lions have struggled in recent years but get a fresh start under Palmer. Wheeler's strength will be on defense where Hauptmann, an ECC Division IV all-star, returns in goal and all four returning defenders have experience. "We have a strong defensive game that can allow for opportunities to become a strong possessive-minded team."

Others

Grasso Tech

Coach: Beth Wallace (1st season)

Key returnees: Sr. D Topaz Baker, Sr. M Ana Julia Da Silva, Sr. D Ruth Muton, Sr. F Angelina Ildefonso.

Top newcomer: So. D Gloria Acevedo.

Outlook: Wallace takes over the Eagles and must replace five seniors, so expect some growing pains this fall as Grasso Tech gears up for another season in the Connecticut Technical Conference. The Eagles must develop some younger players up front and in the midfield, but returns a pair of experience defenders in Baker and Muton.

Old Lyme

Coach: Paul Gleason (8th season)

Key returnees: Jr. M Kaylee Armenia, Jr. B Emily DeRoehn, Sr. M Lydia Tinnerello, Sr. M Melissa Mauro, Sr. D Katie Funaro, Jr. D Ellery Zrenda, Jr. M Grace Lathrop, Jr. G Sam Gray.

Top newcomers: Fr. F Maddie McCulloch, So. M Abby Manthous, So. F Stephanie Mauro.

Outlook: Injuries forced the Wildcats to juggle their lineup during a regular season that was disappointing (8-4-4) by their standards, but Gleason's team found its groove in the postseason and won its fourth consecutive Class S state title, rallying for 2-1 win over Immaculate in the final. Old Lyme must replace the program's career scoring leader (Mya Johnson) and three others (Caroline Wallace, Britney DeRoehn, Danielle McCarthy) who were mainstays during the Wildcats' past success, but there is enough experience and talent back to make them a threat in the Shoreline Conference and in the state tournament again.

Williams School

Coach: Pedro Oliveira (1st season)

Key returnees: Sr. M-F Audrey Matson, Sr. D Lexi Day, Sr. M Rachel Luxton, Sr. M Morgan Pill, Fr. M Skylar Frost, Jr. M Ellie Fader, Fr. D Lucy Fader, So. G Olivia Guinan, Jr. D Lily Sabetta, Jr. D Olivia Kaplan.

Top newcomers: F Sarah Cole.

Outlook: Oliveira takes over a Williams team that won the 2018 SENE title, earned a New England tournament bid and returns 10 starters led by senior captains Matson, Luxton and Pill. The Blues have tremendous depth and an explosive attack, so scoring goals won't be problem (they scored eight in a season-opening win over Watkinson). The Blues should compete for another conference title and head back to the New England tourney.

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