Experienced Sacred Heart soccer team ready to take on FAAs

Convent of the Sacred Heart’s Charlie Clark makes the save during Friday’s practice. — Paul Silverfarb photo

Convent of the Sacred Heart’s Charlie Clark makes the save during Friday’s practice. — Paul Silverfarb photo

With a lot of the athletes from last year’s team returning this fall season, the Convent of the Sacred Heart soccer team is determined to improve on its record and make a run at a FAA championship.

“I am super excited to lead this team,” senior captain Emily Casper said. “It’s my fourth year on the team and I’ve definitely been looking forward to this day since day one. I’m so passionate about soccer and definitely passionate about this school and team. We are so close off the field and it’s great that we can bring that on the field as well. I hope we can improve on what we did last season and hopefully to shoot as much as possible. I think incredible things could happen this year.”

Last season, the Tigers finished 7-9-2 overall and 5-8-2 in the Fairchester Athletic Association.

While Condon thought the team played hard throughout the season, they finished in the middle of the pack, something he wants to see improved this season.

“I see a lot of young talent and a lot of excited young girls, so we are going to ready to go right from the start,” CSH head coach Logan Condon said. “Although we are young, the team is experienced, as a lot of our players are returning from last year’s team.”

Sacred Heart will be led by familiar faces Casper and Concetta Brusco. Both are four-year varsity players. Brusco has been a varsity starter all four years and Casper has been starting for the past three seasons.

“We have veteran leadership from them and that’s wonderful for this team because of how young we are,” Condon said. “Having older wisdom and experience to guide all these young faces is so important for us. They instill the culture that we’re trying to get these young girls to buy into. The captains here keep the team on their toes and keep them honest. They are doing a great job.”

In her second year with the team, Charlie Clark will be returning between the pipes for the Tigers. Last year was her first year playing the position of goalie and Condon couldn’t be more pleased with the improvement she has had.

“She has really excelled and is a great athlete,” Condon said. “We are only looking onwards and upwards with her. She’s very focus and confident. The girls heavily rely on her, so she’s instills confidence in our defense that she’s going to be able to make a stop if we need to.”

Backing up Clark this season will be Delaney Colaio, who started the season as a forward, but played a bunch of minutes last year when Clark went down with a concussion.

In front of Clark will be a slew of returning soccer players, as three seniors and one sophomore will take up the defensive positions. Senior Alessandra Foley will play the outside back, while fellow senior Claren Hesburgh playing another outside back. Casper and sophomore Julia Pogge will round out the defense.

“They are very experienced and  are one of the strengths of this team,” Condon said. “They know what they are doing out there. In front they can be more creative and take chances because they know there’s a solid defense behind them.”

Fellow captain Brusco will anchor the midfield, while junior Alessandra Nocco will join Brusco.

“It feels awesome to be a leader on this team,” Brusco said. “Myself and Emily have been on the team for four years, so it’s been a great experience. I want this team to start each game giving 100 percent and make sure that we score early. I don’t want us to be a second half team. I want us to start out strong and finish that way. We have a lot of really good players and a lot of really good older players. It’s an even squad and no one really stands out.”

An attacking midfielder for CSH will be second-year varsity player Emily Cleary, a sophomore, who saw a bunch of playing time last fall. Behind her will be two freshmen that are fighting for the position.

Up top for Sacred Heart will be juniors Tracey Hagan and Kaitlyn Adamini and both led the team in scoring. The duo were also the team’s all-stars at the New England level.

“They are both very experienced and both very good in front of the goal,” Condon said. “We are going to be a very offensive-minded team that will take a lot of chances when we can. I want to be very aggressive. Once we lose the ball I want them to press right away to not allow the other team to think and pick us apart. We are really going to push the tempo.”

For the Tigers, the experience, as well as the team chemistry, will be a big plus this season.

“Although the seniors on the team are defending, the girls in front of them are very young, but very experienced,” Condon said. “They have the experience from last year and the year before that. All that is going to help us when we are in those close games. We should know what it takes to come out with a victory.”

While the returning experience will be a strength for the Tigers, Condon knows that improvement is needed if his team plans on making a run for the FAA championship.

“We need to get our fitness levels up to where we can constantly run,” Condon said. “We have a deep bench and have quality within the bench. We need to be as fit as possible to run over people. We hope to do as well as we can in the FAA. Last year we were in the middle of the pack and this year we hope to break into the top half of the table. If we qualify for New Englands, I know we would be up against some really tough competition.”

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