Kristy Gallant earns ECC female athlete honors

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Killingly - posted Tue., Oct. 22, 2013
Senior co-captain Kristy Gallant was named ECC female athlete of the month for September. Photo by Denise Coffey.
Senior co-captain Kristy Gallant was named ECC female athlete of the month for September. Photo by Denise Coffey.

Killingly High School’s Kristy Gallant was selected as the ECC female athlete for the month in September for her prowess in the net for the Redgals field hockey team. The senior goalie had her best game against Stonington this year, shutting out the powerhouse team that’s been consistently number one in the ECC. She’s had eight shutouts this season. That meant saving 20 shots on net against Stonington alone. Her athleticism was what impressed head coach Souki Syharat and assistant coach Mark Lowell when she tried out for the team three years ago.

She didn’t know the game when she first tried out. “It usually takes two to three years to learn the skills,” Syharat said. “We knew she was athletic, competitive, passionate and a hard worker. She was aggressive. She had the height for goalie. She was intelligent, so we asked her to try goalie.”

“They picked me because I could move my feet,” Gallant said. “I react fast.”

“From day one I knew she had the ability,” Lowell said. “There was a lot of work, but you could see that she was a natural at it.” He and Gallant learned how to play the position together. Gallant had never played goalie and Lowell had never coached it. Lowell studied videos. “I was just as clueless as she was,” he said.

Gallant was hesitant at first but she grew to love the position. “She’s very active and aggressive in the circle,” Syharat said. She loved that kind of playing.”

“Her growth has been amazing. Her determination to get to this level of play is great to see. From what I’ve seen, I think she’s the best goalie in the ECC,” Lowell said. “I feel like she’s my protégé.

Her stats were impressive for September. She helped Killingly off to a 3-1 record allowing just 2 goals that month. But Gallant was nominated as much for her leadership skills as for her athleticism.

“She’s just been incredible in the cage,” assistant coach Erika Malito said. “She’s been a great leader back there with her defense. I just felt like it was most well deserved to be nominated. She had eight shutouts in 11 games through September. She’s allowed only five goals in the whole season. She’s just been remarkable.”

“Being named ECC athlete of month is a great recognition for her work ethic and leadership,” Syharat said. “It says a lot about her and a lot about her teammates.”

Gallant couldn’t agree more. “I have to thank my defensive backs,” she said. “They were always where they needed to be.”

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