GHS girls' soccer team taking lessons along with success

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Thu., Sep. 29, 2011
Sophomore Audrey Spencer fights for the ball in the Tomahawks' 7-0 victory over Weaver on Sept. 27. Photos by Steve Smith.
Sophomore Audrey Spencer fights for the ball in the Tomahawks' 7-0 victory over Weaver on Sept. 27. Photos by Steve Smith.

As of September 27, the Glastonbury High School varsity girls' soccer team hasn’t given up a goal, albeit with two narrow escapes versus Berlin and East Catholic that resulted in 1-0 overtime wins.

After a 7-0 victory over Weaver, coach Joe Finocchiaro said those close games have been good moral victories, and the bigger wins (GHS also beat East Hartford, 7-0, on Sept. 26) have been good for the team, too.

“We’ve been pretty resilient in those overtime games,” he said. “We found a way to finish it. We had outshot our opponents in the first four games, but couldn’t figure out how to finish. These last couple of games have helped them find the back of the net.”

Finocchiaro said he knew last year that striking would be a challenge for the team, and that is something the team will continue to work on. “Right off the bat we focused on making that better,” he said.

Defense, however, is more solid, with some of the team’s more experienced players at the back. “We’ve got [senior captain and four-year varsity player] McKenzie Hollenbaugh back at her natural spot – center back,” Finocchiaro said. “We also moved [junior] Katie Connolly back to center back, which is her natural spot, too.” Senior captain Sarah Paterson, also a four-year player, anchors the right side of the defense, and strong freshman Madeline Gray on the left.

The team’s overall success so far has been a team effort, the coach said, rather than relying on one or two stars, and possession is the key. “We’re pretty deep this year,” Finocchiaro said. “We don’t have the superstars, like we had a couple years ago, but we have a lot of quality players. We always try to play good possession. We vary our attacks, and when the long ball is on, we try to get that ball in early, but for the most part, we try to play out of the back through the midfield.” Senior Liza Otto, the team’s center midfielder, is also key to moving the ball forward, Finocchiaro said.

Some better tests for the Tomahawks lie ahead, as they prepare to face also-undefeated South Windsor on Sept. 30, and then Wethersfield and last year’s Class M champions, RHAM, before a conference game versus Manchester on Oct. 11.

Finocchiaro said he expects the team to be competitive in the post-season, and is looking forward to the conference tournament, which is new to girls' soccer this season.

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