Redgals field hockey team builds on solid defense

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Killingly - posted Tue., Sep. 25, 2012
(L to r) Seniors Bailey Bellisle, captain Ashley Rittenhouse and Jessica Dastous lead the Redgals. Missing is senior Michela Viellette. Photos by D. Coffey.
(L to r) Seniors Bailey Bellisle, captain Ashley Rittenhouse and Jessica Dastous lead the Redgals. Missing is senior Michela Viellette. Photos by D. Coffey.

Killingly High School field hockey coach Souki Syharat builds his teams around a philosophy that preaches defense. “You build your offense by starting with your defense,” he said. “I tell my players that offense wins games, but defense wins championships.”

The Redgals didn't disappoint in their Sept. 21 game when they tied East Lyme with only one shot on net versus 22 shots on net by the Vikings. It was one of the most amazing defensive games Syharat can recall. “They played as a team, as a defensive unit, because we were outplayed offensively,” he said. “But we played a good defense to pull a tie.”

Kristy Gallant, who has been solid in the goal for Killingly, missed the East Lyme game. Freshman goalie Alyssa Rainey filled in for her. “We asked her and she did an amazing job,” Syharat said. “There was no fear in her eyes. That young lady will make an impact on our program.”

The Redgals have a solid but young team of 22 to 25 players in the squad. “They are playing at JV and varsity levels, so they are getting an enormous amount of playing time,” Syharat said. “They are skilled and competitive.”

Killingly is led by seniors Bailey Bellisle, Jessica Dastous and captains Ashley Rittenhouse and Michela Viellette. Viellette, a key player, missed the early part of the season and the Redgals will be happy to have her back.

“As a group, the seniors are motivated to make the season competitive and enjoyable,” Syharat said. “They want to finish up the last chapter in their high school careers on a good note.”

For the last five years, the ECC field hockey program has consisted of six teams, but it is growing. “This year we welcomed Fitch into our program. Next year Woodstock will join. It's getting bigger at the conference level, which is good for the sport and for us as well,” Syharat said.


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