Strong defensive play to lead Raiders
By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Windsor Locks - posted Thu., Sep. 13, 2012
The Windsor Locks High School girls’ soccer team finished the 2011 season with a 5-11 record, just missing a berth in the Class S state tournament by two victories. The Raiders return to the pitch with a fire in their eyes and expect to earn a berth in the state tournament while catapulting to the top third of the difficult North Central Connecticut Conference.
“I think that there is not a team that we cannot beat in the conference, and I think that there is not a team that cannot beat us,” said Jim O’Brien, head coach. “Historically we have been in the bottom third of the conference, but if we play like we can, we can move to the middle or top third. Our goal is to make the state tournament every year.”
The Raiders may be one of the most improved teams in the state and will look to their depth, intensity and endurance to carry them throughout the season. The 2012 squad has 18 players who can come on at any time. Expect this depth to wear down opponents late in the game when legs are tired and late in the season when conditioning and injuries take effect.
Windsor Locks’ strength lies in their backline, which is bolstered down by senior captain Katie O’Boyle, as well as senior Megan Dimick and junior Tiana Edwards. The last line of defense is senior captain and All-State and All-Conference goalkeeper Chelsea Santos.
“Defensively, we are extremely strong, and it should help carry us this season,” O’Boyle said. “Everyone in the back is experienced and knows what it takes.”
The offensive attack will be led by sophomore Shelbie Carr, who led the team last season with five goals. Supporting the offense alongside Carr will be junior Allie LeDuke, who is expected to step up and keep the attack on for much of the season. The Raider offense will be facilitated and supported by senior captain and midfielder Katie D'Appollonio.
“We are pretty strong everywhere, but the offense has to match the defense if we want to come far in the season,” Santos said.