Lady Eagles eye return to playoffs
By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Tolland - posted Fri., Aug. 31, 2012
Last season, the Tolland High School varsity soccer team posted a 13-1-2 record, but was met with some bad luck in the second round of the state tournament, losing to Rocky Hill, 2-1. Coach Ken Boucher said while he lost “quite a few” talented players to graduation – besides having to replace top strikers Kristin Carr and Allie Gallo, the team will also need a new batch of defenders – this year's team knows what it means to win and has the athleticism to do just that.
“We have some experienced girls,” Boucher said. “We have some talent here. The question is whether we can get them to play as a unit and get seasoned quickly enough so that we can be successful.”
The team will be relying on nine seniors and a large group of sophomores. Senior captains Megan Lester, Hannah Fay and goalie Katie Akerly will lead the team, and Boucher said he's pleasantly surprised with the chemistry of the team under those three.
“The chemistry has been really positive,” he said. “They feel like there isn't going to be any drama, and they are pretty hungry. Last year was disappointing. We lost and it was still a game where we felt we outplayed the other team.”
Boucher said the team, while not having the possession-laden skills of last year, has more power and more speed.
“We have a lot more physical strength,” he said. “I don't think we're going to get muscled out of too many games. We have speed, but we don't have as much of the finesse that we had.”
The team worked a lot on fitness over the off-season, and - barring injuries - expects to make the conference and state tournaments. The key, overall, Boucher said, will be playing as a unit and each player staying within their roles.
“We have a couple of players who sometimes feel like they need to be all places at all times, which leaves us weighted improperly. If we can play disciplined, we should be okay. Skill-wise, we're equal to any other team. That's why it's really important that we don't play outside of ourselves. That's it - play within.”
Tolland's regular season starts at Fermi on Sept. 14 and then they will host RHAM on Sept. 18. For a complete schedule, visit www.casciac.org.