Suffield girls soccer has stellar first half

They make it look easy. Almost too easy. The Suffield Wildcats are playing some of, if not, the best soccer in the state. The team has not allowed a goal this season, and have outscored opponents 51-0. The Wildcats only once scored less than three goals in a game, which was a 2-0 win over Ellington.

This record is not due to a lack of a tough conference. They are in one of the toughest leagues, top to bottom, in the NCCC. They dismissed 9-1 Avon, 5-0 to begin the season and beat both Granby, and Windsor Locks, 6-0.

What’s the secret to coach Dave Sullivan’s success?

“A lot of it has to do it is a committed program. It’s the next level. One of the other secrets is that we have a great travel program,” Sullivan said.

Senior Brittany Champagne leads the team with 19 goals and 10 assists as of October 10th. Along with Champagne and fellow seniors Jillian Consolini, Reilly Williams (13 goals, nine assists) and Michele D’Agata along with three other seniors have been have been nothing short of extraordinary.

“Those girls have been with me for four years. The commitment these girls have had since they were freshman is what sets them apart,” Sullivan said.

This season, Suffield has moved up from Class M to Class LL, where they are sure to see stiffer competition.

“If you look at who we play, St. Joe’s, Northwest Catholic. Both of those teams are in LL. I do believe we can compete with everyone. The big difference [between Class M and Class LL] is the first round will be a tough game. There are no easy wins. We won’t have the luxury of having an off day.

Windsor Locks

Windsor Locks (7-2-1) has held their own and then some in the NCCC. The Raiders jumped out to a 4-0 start before losing to Suffield, who is sitting in the driver’s seat of the conference.

“Suffield is one of the best teams in the state. I think these three games [against Avon, Ellington and Granby] test where we are. I think that our record shows that we have some pretty good success, but not against the top teams in our league. This will be a good indicator for us. OUr defense is very difficult to get around. We are very athletic. We have great defending skills. So that’s kind of our anchor,” coach Jim O’Brien said.

A lot of credit has also gone to goalkeeper, Amber Curran.

“We had a good backup goalkeeper for the last couple years in Amber Curran. Last year she would have started on many teams. We had an all-state keeper last year (Chelsea Santos). She has done a terrific job. She’s terrific. She’s a great communicator to the backs. She’s really helpful for us,” O’Brien said.

On the offensive end Shelbie Carr and Allie LaDuke have done a lot of scoring but O’Brien said that about seven kids have scored on the season and have a lot of kids that can put the ball in the back of the net.

Somers

The Somers Spartans are 5-4-1 after the first half of the season. The ride started out bumpy, losing to a Coventry team that just has two wins on the season.

“I knew they were a little nervous the first night. We have been a better team since then,” head coach Mike Pantuosco said.

The team rebounded, winning four of its next six games, including a 1-0 win over a tough Enfield squad. They also tied Windsor Locks on September 25, a team that just has two losses on the season and is competing for an NCCC crown. It was the third straight tie between the teams.

“The games [against Windsor Locks] seem to turn on a play or two. I think they are two even teams,” Pantuosco said. Pantuosco went on to say that he felt the team played much better in a 2-0 loss to Avon and it showed that they can compete with any team in the conference.

Jaclyn O’Grady has taken care of the offense, leading the team with 10 goals. Erin Pfeifer has five.

Enfield

The Raiders have had an up and down season thus far having started out 1-2 to begin the campaign, but now currently sit at 5-4, thanks in large part to a dominating stretch of games against SMSA, East Windsor and East Granby, where they outscored their opponents, 20-0 during that stretch. Goalkeeper Shayenne Gonzalez recently returned from a head injury and has been a spark in net after Erin Slavin filled in for her nicely in the games she started.

Coach Ashley Hurley is happy about the team’s defense as of late, but understands the meat of her schedule is up next with Avon, Suffield, Bolton, Windsor Locks and Somers all looming in the tough NCCC. “I expect tough battles. I know the girls want to play Windsor Locks again.” The Raiders lost to Windsor Locks, 3-2 to open the season.

Hurley said the team has played better since the beginning of the season. “Our passing looks better. We don’t look like 11 different players out there.”

On the scoring end, Sydnie Bedard and Tina Leonardo lead the team with five and four goals, respectively.

Fermi

In Matt Hay’s first season, he has been able to keep the Falcons afloat at 4-5-1 to begin the season. The season started out well, with Fermi winning its first two games over Windsor and Bloomfield before losing its next four games. The team rebounded with a 6-1 win over Hartford Public.

Hay has seen the team pick up its level of play throughout the season.

“The team has struggled adapting to the rigors of Varsity soccer but have become very competitive. Not only are we learning to play as a team but also how to play soccer the right way- we have changed our tactics, our formation and of course our personnel. The last three games has seen a complete turn around and we are confident the second half of the season will be a new chapter in Fermi Soccer.”

Captain Ashley Kennedy, once the only scoring option on the team has been able to move the ball as well.

“Ashley Kennedy has been an excellent captain, as has her sister Kaley. Ashley has learned a new style of play and transitioned from being the only option to score to a key component of moving the ball up the field and providing others the opportunity to score,” Hay said.

Stafford

In the stacked NCCC, the Bulldogs are 2-7-1 on the season. After dropping its first two games of the year, they were able to come away with a 2-0 win over East Windsor.

The team has had a tough time getting the ball in the net this season, having just scored 11 goals, with six of them coming in a 6-0 drubbing of SMSA.

The Bulldogs consist of 11 sophomores on the team, so the team should start seeing more success on the pitch in the coming years.

East Windsor

It has been a rough go of it thus far for the Panthers. They have started out the season 0-9-1, with their lone tie coming in a 0-0 game against East Granby. The Panthers have scored just one goal on the season.

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