Plainfield girls' soccer seal spot in playoffs

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Plainfield - posted Tue., Oct. 18, 2011
Samantha Jimmis takes one away from the Panthers. Photos by D. Coffey.
Samantha Jimmis takes one away from the Panthers. Photos by D. Coffey.

With their 6-1 win over Tourtellotte on Oct. 17,  the Plainfield girls' soccer team put themselves into the state playoffs for the first time in five years. The Panthers jumped out ahead 5-0 by the half. They added one more goal in the second half, but were unable to keep the Tigers at bay completely. Tourtellotte scored late with only minutes remaining.

“The girls are very excited,” said coach Jon Zielinski. “Hopefully we'll get a couple more wins.”

The Panters were looking forward to four more games before the end of the regular season, including the one against Griswold on Oct 18 and Killingly on Oct 21.

Zielinski had nothing but praise for his goalie, Serena Gunter, who took to the net after two other goalies had to sit out with injuries. “She's doing a great job,” he said. “She's our third goalie. She's come a long way in a short time.”

He called Heather Evans the heart and soul of the team. The senior captain plays midfield position. “She runs the field,” Zielinski said. “She gets back on defense. She sets people up so they can score. She shuts down the other teams' best players. She sets the tone for our play.”

This year's record is a far cry from last year's, when the team played in the ECC Medium division. Zielinski is happy with the move to the ECC Small. “We had no business in the ECC Medium,” he said. “It's nice to have a schedule where the games are competitive.”

The coach used his halftime lead to make substitutions, in order to give some of his younger players game time. “At 5-0 I was confident in my goalie and defense, so I thought it was time to work on some things,” he said. “We need to get that defense to lock down and finish that zero on the score board,” he said. “Shut outs are always nice.”

The playing time was the opportunity Paige Waterman needed to get her first goal. With 15 minutes remaining in the second half, she put one by the Panthers goalkeeper; a birthday present to herself for turning 15.

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