Girls soccer / Pre-season sweat put Warde on path to perfection
Sarah Reilly wanted to form more than just a bond between her teammates. She also wanted them to sweat.
So, Reilly, the senior captain of the Warde girls' soccer team, had everyone sign up to attend a conditioning class at a local fitness center. They trained and they worked and, oh yeah, did they sweat. But the reward was after-workout pizza and a chemistry that has the Mustangs standing one point out of first place in the FCIAC East Division after Monday's 7-0 win over Stamford raised their season record to a perfect 7-0. A tie with Greenwich Wednesday moved the record to 7-0-1
"What I wanted to do was create the bond before the season and we also all wanted to be in good condition," Reilly said. "So, we got into a program called `Get Mo Fit.' It's a fitness thing and we all did it and bonded."
Not only have the Mustangs bonded, they've dominated. In seven games, they have yet to allow a goal, while scoring 30.
"In years past and including this year, we've always prided ourselves on playing good defense," said Warde coach Tom Cunningham. "It starts with our backs, actually it starts all over the field, the forwards have to contribute on the defensive end, the midfielders, and this year we've been focusing a lot in practices on picking up our scoring opportunities and finishing our scoring chances. That's been the bright spot for the season so far, getting solid scoring chances and finishing them."
Senior Nell Carpenter, juniors Jenn Maldonado and Taylor Gabrenas all scored two goals for Warde in the romp over Stamford while sophomore Anna Glovin also scored. And in a recent win over McMahon, five different Mustangs put the ball in the net.
"It's a great thing for us as a team to have because if one person isn't able to do it that day, someone else will step up and do it," said Cunningham. "We have people contributing all over the field, scoring goals, so we're not just relying in one person to score for us. It's a great thing for our team."
So is the chemistry that Reilly and her seven other senior teammates, worked so hard over the summer to create. The Mustangs were a well-oiled machine in dismantling Stamford, using dominating ball-possession and creating attacking opportunities all over the field, led by senior center back Virginie Larouche.
"Virginie has been doing a great job of switching the ball and moving the ball around," Reilly said. "Going into the season, what we really wanted was to have a chemistry and a bond and what we have on the field is great. When we're practice we seem to focus so much better because we all get along so well. The bond between everyone is so great and I think that's helped in what we're doing on the field."
Coming into the season, Cunningham knew that this team could be special -- if -- that chemistry that Reilly mentioned could be correctly mixed. So far, so good. Cunningham has blended a junior-laden lineup, along with the seniors and even a freshman, Lauren Tangley, into a team that is going to challenge for the FCIAC title.
"Our depth is tremendous and there's depth in every class," Cunningham said. "We're led by our eight seniors, a couple of them are injured right now but then, we have a big junior class and our underclassmen are all contributing too, so it's a great mix and we have a lot of depth this year."