Greenwich High girls soccer motivated for season to start

Greenwich High’s Treloara Harrison works the ball from the defense during last year’s game against South Windsor. — Paul Silverfarb photo

Greenwich High’s Treloara Harrison works the ball from the defense during last year’s game against South Windsor. — Paul Silverfarb photo

Coming into the fall season more motivated and determined than ever, the Greenwich High School girls soccer team is ready to put last season in the rear view mirror and go after another conference and state championship.

“This year I think the girls have come into the season with a little more of vigor about them,” Greenwich High head coach Danny Simpson said. “They are in better shape and I think they are ready to go to battle right now.”

After winning three consecutive Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference championships, the Lady Cardinals stumbled a little bit last season. They didn’t make the conference tournament, but were resilient in the CIAC class LL tourney.

“I think last year really hit them,” Simpson said. “Coming into the season last year with a three-peat of the FCIAC championship, I think people came into this team with the expectation that this was going to be a cake walk. Now they understand that they have to earn it. Last year we were disappointed that we didn’t make the FCIACs and didn’t go as far as we would have liked in states. But the FCIACs is a true league and you get what you deserve. We didn’t deserve a top eight. We didn’t score enough goals.”

Greenwich scored a goal in the final 19 seconds of regulation against CIAC class LL opening round opponent Cheshire and won the game with 17 seconds to play in overtime. Although the Cardinals kept the pressure on South Windsor in the second round, they fell 1-0 to end their season.

“It’s really important to get to FCIACs and states,” Kockenmeister said. “We have a legacy at the high school. We were able to three-peat and we want to get back there now. I think we have the team to do it. We have a lot of experienced players on the team that want to know what it feels like to be in FCIACs.”

 This year’s team will be led by four seniors. Kylie Ginsburg will be occupying the goalie position yet again, while Alyssa Bernstein, Alli Maniglia and Jaime Kockenmeister will all be in the midfield.

“It’s been a lot of fun being on the team and watching it grow,” Ginsburg said. “As a senior, it’s great to watch the girls getting better. I think we are going to be good this year. We have a lot of depth up and down the field. Nobody has a starting position so far and that’s a good team. We want to be competitive and we have a lot of talent at a lot of positions.”

In addition to all four being top quality captains, all four know what it’s like to win a championship, as they have all played on an FCIAC championship team at the varsity level.

“They know what it takes to be a winner and I think they all will bring that mentality to the team,” Simpson said. “They know that we play every play and don’t take a play off. They have been able to hit the right keynotes, whether to build them up or key on them. In preseason they are looking good. We like what we see so far.”

“It’s wonderful to lead this team,” Bernstein said. “I feel like there is a lot of really good potential and I think we can go far this season. We have a lot of experienced players that will help us when we get close to the postseason. To have people that have already been there and know what it’s like is very beneficial. We need to play as a unit and not just kicking the ball and passing it to the middle.”

In goal for the Cardinals to start the season will be Emma Barefoot, a returning sophomore, while Ginsburg heals from knee surgery.

“I think that Emma is going to contribute this year and for Kylie that means that she just won’t be given a shirt,” Simpson said. “That’s what we’re looking for. They are going to fight it out for the starting position. They both train together outside of high school and both know their strengths and weaknesses. They both play the same way.”

The Cardinals still haven’t settled on any starting spots yet; however, when it comes to defense, Big Red has a lot of returning experience in junior Treloara Harrison, senior Emma Heerdt, senior Lindsay Alfano and senior Natalia Hartwell. Also joining the mix will be sophomore Amanda Yu.

This year’s biggest strength might be in the team’s midfield, as captains Kockenmeister, Bernstein and Maniglia will be returning.

“It’s fun being a leader here and playing for this team,” Kockenmeister said. “A lot of us are really good friends and have known each other for a long time now. It’s great to spend our last year here with people that we really like.”

“As a leader, I think I bring a lot to the midfield,” Maniglia said. “I’ve always wanted to be a captain here since I entered the program. I’ve been playing with these girls since I was five or six years old and it’s great to play with them in my senior year.”

Junior Jess Bartholomew will most likely be moving back to the midfield, while fellow juniors Camilla Akerman and Caroline Frey will also look for time at the midfield.

Junior Callie Doyle could play both midfield and forward, as can fellow junior Emily Berzolla.

Up front, both Maniglia and Berzolla will see plenty of chances to put the ball in the back of the net, while the top scorer from last year, junior Anna Giannuzzi, will be returning to the forward position. Also challenging for starting spots up top will be freshmen Kim Kockenmeister and Katherine Gallagher.

“What I love about this team this year is that they have a lot of depth,” Simpson said. “That’s something that we haven’t been able to promote in the past years. We have a good array of talent and some of them might find playing in the FCIAC a nice little jolt. But that’s the beauty of the sport.”

Once again, Simpson sees Greenwich High as a defensive team. However, that doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to light up the scoreboard quickly.

“We are going to be very stingy on defense and that’s what teams expect when they play us,” Simpson said. “We are going to be solid at defense, but I think we have some very creative players. Emily is going to create opportunities for players to show their ability in front of the goal and our two freshmen are going to scare some center backs.”

For Simpson, when he saw his team during preseason, it was obvious to him that they could play good football.

“The big thing that I’ve been stressing during my time here is that if you want to go far, you have to retain the ball,” Simpson said. “We have the players with the technical ability to retain possession and make the other team work harder than us. That gives us the chance to go far in the postseason tournaments. If we surrender the ball to good sides, they will do a good job punishing us.”

With all the talent on the roster, and with experience leading the way, Simpson believes this team that make a bunch of noise this postseason. However, he believes that the team still needs to know how to close out other teams.

“Mentally we need to know how to win and have that killer instinct,” Simpson said. “They have the ability and awareness. They will be fit and strong enough. But when it comes to playoffs or sudden death, you have the have that mentality to win games. Once they get that down, we should be really strong. I think there’s a good nucleus. If they can take the highs and the lows at the same level, they’ll have a good season.”

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© Hersam Acorn. All rights reserved. The Greenwich Post, 10 Corbin Drive, Floor 3, Darien, CT 06820

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress