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    Sunday, May 28, 2023

    Ally Gleason wins opener as Old Lyme boys' soccer coach

    Old Lyme's Rory Cavicke, right, kicks a ball past North Branford's Jason Stanford during Thursday's high school boys' soccer game at Colafati Field in North Branford. Old Lyme won 10-0, the first game of the season for the team and first-year coach Ally Gleason. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    North Branford — Jitters? Maybe a few inside. But Ally Gleason, who made history Thursday night, was a picture of tranquility during this game, all while almost unassumingly illustrating that a woman can coach a boys’ sport quite nicely, thanks.

    Gleason, believed to be the first woman coaching a boys’ high school soccer team in Connecticut, watched her Old Lyme boys waltz to a 10-0 win over North Branford, her first win as a varsity coach after years of helping her dad, Paul, win four straight state titles with the Old Lyme girls.

    “I’m a lot calmer than I was when I was with the girls' program. I don’t know why,” Gleason said. “I thought I’d be a little more nervous than I was. This team makes me feel pretty calm.”

    Gleason, who was coaching till the end — offering instruction in the final seconds of a 10-goal game — wasn’t much into the history thing.

    “I just think of myself as a coach, there’s no difference between being a man or a woman,” she said. “This is about stepping on the field with a team. Working them the same way I’d work with the girls. I don’t see a difference. But I think a lot of other people do.”

    Angus Tresnan scored two goals for the Wildcats, joining teammates Mike Milazzo, Sam Roth, Garrett Smith, Jesper Silberberg, Anders Silberberg, Aidan Kerrigan, Nevin Joshy and Paul Nelson.

    Old Lyme led 9-0 at halftime and played many underclassmen in the second half.

    “I didn’t think it would be as high scoring,” Gleason said. “I knew North Branford had some limited numbers, but I never like to take any team for granted.”

    Gleason steps into a proud program, nonetheless suffering from a dearth of wins in the last few years. Times might be a changin’ though. There’s a new sheriff in town.

    “I love her,” senior Jackson Warren said. “She’s great. She brings a new energy to the program. It’s good to have her. Every practice we’ve had has been good. We’re a lot more fit because she pushes us hard. It showed on the field tonight.

    “We came out after kind of a tough season last year and kind of the same thing the year before. We are looking to get the program back on track. This was our first one and a really big win for us.”


    Old Lyme boys' soccer coach Ally Gleason talks to her players before Thursday's game against North Branford. Gleason was an assistant under her father Paul for the Old Lyme girls' soccer team, which won the last four Class S state championships. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    Old Lyme's Michael Milazzo, left, attempts a shot on goal during Thursday's high school boys' soccer game against North Branford. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    Old Lyme's Jackson Warren (27) heads a ball during a boys' soccer game Thursday versus North Branford. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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