Girls Soccer Preview
Published 12:29 pm, Friday, September 8, 2017
FAIRFIELD - How do you replace four of the best soccer players in the state?
You don’t. You can’t. You take a deep breath and move on and that’s exactly what Notre Dame-Fairfield girls’ soccer coach Wayne Mones is going to do.
Samantha LaValle, who scored 95 career goals, is headed to Wagner. Brianna Kydes is at AIC. Erica Quinones is at Post College and Nazae Craw is at St. Peter’s. The four were instrumental in leading the Lancers to a 17-2-4 record and back-to-back co-state championships. But that run is over.
Now, it will be up to returning seniors Samantha Camacho, Katie Ciufo and Lindsay Salvati to keep the Notre Dame-Fairfield train going strong. All three will be co-captains.
“Our goal for the season will be to qualify for the state tournament,” Mones wrote in his prospectus to the Citizen. “We will be young and lack depth but we have the talent to compete if we can stay healthy.”
Camacho - an All-SWC Patriot Division selection last season -- will again anchor the Lancers’ defense in goal. Camacho posted 16 shutouts last season and was named MVP in the Class M finals as ND and Immaculate fought to a 0-0 two-overtime tie. Ciufo, who scored eight goals and added five assists, will take the offensive leadership baton passed on by LaValle.
Other returning players that Mones will look to provide experience will be juniors Katarzyna Zawadzki, Olivia Carrico and Amanda McGheehan.
Like Mones, Falcons coach Peter Nikac lost several key players, including Peyton Brown and Emily DeMaso but the cupboard is not empty as quad-captains senior Kaleigh Brown (midfielder), senior Natalie Kelchner (goalkeeper, All-FCIAC honorable mention), senior Bridget Walsh (defense) and Meredith Reynolds return to provide the foundation for the Falcons this season.
“As many schools did, we lost many quality seniors,” Nikac wrote in his prospectus to the Citizen. “Still, this is the FCIAC and every game will be competitive.”
Along with the captains, juniors McKenna Forrest (midfielder) and Kiersten Morrisoe (midfielder) also return.
“Our strengths will be depth and goalkeepers,” Nikac wrote. “If the girls can play simple, consistent soccer and stay healthy, then we should have a successful year.”
Ludlowe finished 6-7-3 last season and lost to Cheshire 1-0 in the opening round of the Class LL playoffs.
After earning a place in the FCIAC tournament and reaching the second round of the Class LL playoffs, Mustangs coach Tom Cunningham is looking at even bigger and better things this season.
“With the experienced players’ we have on the roster, this could be a good season,” Cunningham wrote in his prospectus to the Citizen. “But we will need to be more productive with our scoring.”
Seniors Lauren Tangney (First team All-FCIAC), Katie Rigione, Teresa Andres (tri-captains), Olivia Seymour and Cara Bebey return, as do juniors Janey Boldrighini, Claire Corcoran, Avery Oracheff (All-FCIAC honorable mention), Kaitlyn Walsh and Caleigh Walket. Sophomore Claire Cherniski is also back.
“The defense returns three of the four starters,” Cunningham wrote. “We’re going to have experience, speed and skill. It can be a great season led by a strong senior class and underclassmen already with varsity experience.”
The Mustangs went 8-7-4 last season, losing to St. Joseph in the opening round of the FCIAC tournament and falling to Suffield 1-0 in the second round of the Class LL tournament.