Coach leads East Catholic girls' soccer for 20 years

By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Thu., Sep. 8, 2011
The East Catholic High School girls' soccer team values foot skills, which are drilled at each practice. Photos by Martha Marteney.
The East Catholic High School girls' soccer team values foot skills, which are drilled at each practice. Photos by Martha Marteney.

“They’re an all-round great bunch of kids,” said Liz Palmer, coach of the East Catholic High School girls’ soccer team. “That’s the reason I keep coming back.” A graduate of East Catholic herself, Palmer has been the girls’ soccer coach for 20 years.

“We have a strong nucleus back,” said Palmer about the returning players on this year’s team. Last year, the Eagles finished 8-7-2, going as far the first round of the state conference. “We competed well,” said Palmer. Although eight seniors graduated last year, five starting players are returning to this year’s varsity roster.

“We’ll be strong up the middle again,” noted Palmer, although her team lost a lot of defense. Of the four seniors on this year’s team, two are returning starters: center midfielder Laura Wysocka, of Somers, and forward Annika Simmons, of Coventry. Goalie Liz Brasa will step into the varsity goal after being the junior varsity starter last season. Palmer said she will also be looking for a lot from defender Kylie Lynch, a junior, as well as sophomore Hope Skahan, who was a starter last year, and outside midfielder junior Kelly McKenna.

Overall, there are 45 members included in the girls' soccer junior varsity and varsity teams. “We definitely have a good bunch,” said Palmer, “and for next year, too.” She noted that many of the underclassmen are hungry for playing time. “Being part of a team is a big part of the high school experience,” she said.

“I have faith in us,” said senior co-captain Laura Wysocka. She started playing soccer at 3 years old, as a defender. Wysocka has been on the varsity starting line-up for four years, having moved up the field to the center midfield position. She described the team as a fun, family group, but also said, “We have a strong attacking style of play.”

“I just love the environment,” said senior co-captain Annika Simmons, explaining that her team is strong on passing and working well together. She noted the players’ foot skills and their ability to stay calm as team assets. “I think we’re going to do good,” said Simmons, who has been a starting varsity forward since her freshman year.

The East Catholic High School girls’ soccer team has its first home game on Friday, Sept. 16, against Wethersfield. Both the junior varsity and the varsity games begin at 3:45 p.m., on the lower fields. To see the complete schedule, visit the website

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