Ludlowe girls soccer trying to get over semifinal hump
The Fairfield Ludlowe girls soccer team has become pretty familiar with playoff streaks the last two seasons.
The Falcons have reached the Class LL semifinals each of the last two seasons, falling to the eventual state champion, Shelton, a year ago. Ludlowe fell to Glastonbury in the LL semis in 2009.
Ludlowe returns eight players from the team that went 12-6-2 a year ago. But forward Mary Kamovitch was twice a first team all-FCIAC player and goalkeeper Blakely Zecher was a two-year starter and a second-team all-FCIAC member too.
Departed senior Brooke Mackno was a four-year starter for the Falcons as well.
"Mary, Brooke and Blakely were at the core of our middle last year," head coach Tony Samuelian said. "That tenacity will be difficult to replace."
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But Samuelian's eighth season as the Falcons' head girls coach has the potential to be one of the brightest in his tenure.
Senior captain Libby McNamara will anchor a defense that will return three contributors. Fellow senior Megan Langlais and junior Ally Doyle were all significant factors for a squad that allowed just 12 goals in 20 games a season ago.
Replacing Zecher is a competition between four girls. Senior captain Katherine Mahder, juniors Bridget Clarke and Maddy Lesko and sophomore Maddie Hruschka are all vying for that starting netminder position. Samuelian is content with allowing them to battle to find the most skilled member of the squad.
"The competition at keeper will force the candidates to push one another the entire season," Samuelian said. "They could develop into the most talented group of keepers we've ever had."
Ludlowe did not reach the FCIAC playoffs a year ago, but missed mostly because of a 3-4-1 start. The Falcons were one of the most dangerous squads, though, in defeating top-seeded Glastonbury on their home field, as well as shocking South Windsor on its home turf in the quarters of the state playoffs.
"Those eight returners have been through some excellent learning experiences," Samuelian said.
Despite being so far away, getting passed the semis in both LL and FCIACs is at the forefront of Ludlowe's mind.
"The coaches get excited when thinking about the postseason possibilities with this team," the Falcons skipper said.
But, Samuelian knows how everything must align for those things to happen.
"The stars, moons and earth have to be just right in the sports world to win a title," he said. "Hopefully those semifinal game visits will leave them hungry for more."