RHAM girls still trying to adjust during first soccer games of season

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Hebron - posted Tue., Sep. 20, 2011
Katrina Hersh takes control of the ball. Photos by Melanie Savage.
Katrina Hersh takes control of the ball. Photos by Melanie Savage.

After capturing the Class L state championship last year, the RHAM varsity girls’ soccer team lost a number of key players, including Kristen Brett and Audra Ayotte. But they still have plenty of talent, including Sydney Aldrich, CCC East All-Conference and Class L State Championship Finals MVP last year, and co-captain Olivia Rivosa, who ended the ’10-’11 season holding the number-one position for assists, according to the Connecticut Association of Schools/Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference.

Head coach John Evans, who took over for Jen Stahl when she went on sabbatical to take care of her new baby, has had to rely a lot on hearsay regarding last year’s team, but his perception is that there was a lot of strength derived from the two key players. “Without the stars, we’re having to rely even more on teamwork,” he said. Evans originally came to the U.S. from the U.K. to coach Major League Soccer camps. “I’ve been to 20 different states since then,” he said.

“I love the fact that they want [the championship] again,” said Evans. “And we can win it again, but it’s going to take a lot more work. Also, they have a target on their backs. Everyone wants to beat you. But we can do it.”

Evans said that during RHAM’s first scrimmage against Newington, “It was clear we had a lot of work to do.” He described the team’s performance during the first half as “atrocious.” After regrouping at half-time, however, the team managed to pull a tie out of that first game. They beat Bacon Academy during their second scrimmage of the season with a final score of 4-2, and Hartford Public during their first official game of the season by a final score of 10-0.

On Sept. 19, the Sachems faced Tolland, the only team to beat them during the ’10-’11 season. “This year we have to be ready to come out and stay focused, no matter what happens,” said RHAM co-captain Abby Mulligan before the game. But Tolland took an early lead and RHAM never succeeded in catching up, despite a combined 11 saves by goalkeepers Brittney Lovett and Katie Savage, and numerous shots on goal by Mulligan, Brianna Byrne and Cait Ayotte. The final score was 3-0 Tolland.

RHAM’s assistant coach is Kim Hills, and co-captains are Abby Mulligan, Olivia Rivosa and Jenna Hovey.

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