Bacon Academy girls’ soccer faces challenging year ahead

By Merja H. Lehtinen - ReminderNews
Colchester - posted Thu., Sep. 27, 2012
Soccer player Brianna Murray says everyone is having fun this year on the Bacon Academy girls' soccer team. Photo by Merja H. Lehtinen.
Soccer player Brianna Murray says everyone is having fun this year on the Bacon Academy girls' soccer team. Photo by Merja H. Lehtinen.

Since the early 1980s, Bacon Academy has had a competitive girls' soccer team. Today, there are about 23 students on the girls' teams, including freshmen, junior varsity and varsity.

The three coaches today are Sal Mareno, Kevin Fennell and Christine Taylor, who make up a strong team of leaders. Mareno and Taylor have been coaching together since 2003.

"We have a lot of very strong players across the board. The three captains, all seniors, are Jenny Stec, Amanda Weinberger and Alissa Hemm," said Taylor.

These players practice about two hours a day Monday through Friday, although sometimes practices are on Saturdays as well. The girls compete against about 20 other teams in the Eastern Connecticut Conference.

A few of the current seniors - Amanda Weinberger, Jessica Ostroski and Jenny Stec among them - have indicated they would like to play soccer at the college level. They are looking at Central and other colleges.

There are also two sisters on the team. McKensie Downer is a junior, and younger sister Courtney is a freshman. Both are following the path of older sister Chelsey, who is a senior at Eastern, where she is having a very strong season, said the coach.

The team is dealing with a new chemistry because so many former players graduated. Sudden injuries among the girls also make for a struggle this season, although, the coach noted, struggles make for stronger players, as they become more versatile. JV goalie Megan Stevens has had a strong starting season in particular, said Taylor.

Player Brianna Murray said the team is coming together well even with so many former seniors who graduated. Freshmen, JV and varsity all practice together except on days when they have games. So, Murray said, it feels like a unified team. "We all have fun," she said.

Many of the Bacon Academy athletes started playing soccer at a very young age. That makes them strong, experienced players, but also makes competition more intense. But no matter what their level of skill or experience, noted Taylor, there is always some place for any child to try out the sport at any point in life.

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