Senior leadership key to SHS girls’ soccer team spirit

By Kathryn Elliott - Reminder News
Stafford - posted Thu., Nov. 10, 2011
SHS senior Morgan Quagliaroli goes head to head with an East Granby player. Photos by Kathryn Elliott.
SHS senior Morgan Quagliaroli goes head to head with an East Granby player. Photos by Kathryn Elliott.

On Oct. 21, the Stafford High School girls’ soccer team went head to head with the Lady Crusaders of East Granby. Led by coach Steve Budaj, the team kept EG to a 0-0 tie at the half. Lady Bulldogs seniors Dani Clark, Morgan Quagliaroli, Brittany Blythe and Melissa McCloskey kept the game close, adding both momentum and leadership, before falling in a last-minute 1-0 loss.

“Brittany Blythe and Melissa McCloskey have provided excellent senior leadership on and off the field, giving 100 percent in every game in which they play,” Budaj said.

At forward, Blythe is a four-year team member. “We have a very close team,” she said. “There are a lot of things we do off the field, too, like our sleepover team bonding night. The one thing I learned from coach is to always push yourself, and try hard.” Blythe will be attending college with a major in photo journalism.

Outside midfielder McCloskey commented on this season’s team. “We work very well together, on and off the field,” she said. “There is always some type of team bonding activity going on that keeps us close.” A four-year soccer player, she also plays softball for SHS and plans on studying elementary education in college.

“Morgan Quagliaroli and Dani Clarke have been four-year varsity players, each making important contributions to the success of our program,” Budaj said. “As captains, they work very hard in the off-season to run practices and organize clinics for the team to attend.”

“My favorite moment, as a team, was our overtime win over Bolton,” said team co-captain Clark. “I think a young girl considering playing soccer should start immediately and never give up. It is a great sport, and if you are lucky, you can be part of a great team.” Clark, a four-year team member, plays sweeper and is a member of both the softball and basketball teams. She plans on studying physical therapy in college.

Fellow captain and forward Quagliaroli commented on Budaj’s team philosophy. “One of the things he always says is ‘go to the ball.’ Seems simple, but the reminder helps,” she said. Quagliaroli also plays softball for SHS and plans on attending a four-year college.


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