RHAM girls' soccer heads into home stretch of successful season

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Hebron - posted Tue., Nov. 12, 2013
Senior Rachel Pilver handles the ball for RHAM during a Nov. 8 Class L quarterfinal game against East Lyme. Photos by Melanie Savage.
Senior Rachel Pilver handles the ball for RHAM during a Nov. 8 Class L quarterfinal game against East Lyme. Photos by Melanie Savage.

Head coach Melissa Kissane had high hopes at the beginning of the season for this year’s RHAM girls’ soccer team, despite the fact that the team lost 10 seniors at the end of the 2012 season. “The girls did everything I asked of them this season,” said Kissane. “They came together and rose to every challenge. It is a great group of girls and athletes that want to succeed and were willing to do what it took to get there.”

As a result, the team put together a tremendous run, ending the regular season with a 15-1 record and a number-one seed for the state tourney. Their single loss came early in the season, during RHAM’s first game against Tolland. “The girls played great, outplaying Tolland for most of the game,” said Kissane. “They were simply unable to find the back of the net and Tolland capitalized on two errors on our part. The girls left this game knowing they could have won, and it was a real coming-together moment for us. We knew that this was not the way we wanted to have this season go, and they proved that time and time and again, eventually coming back to beat Tolland and claim the title of CCC East champions for the second year in a row,” said Kissane.

Kissane said that no one player can be singled out as a star. “There is no player a team can shut down without there being someone else to step up to fill that spot,” she said. Kissane called senior captains Mallory Stone and Katrina Hersh the glue of the team. “They worked to make this a team; every member of JV or varsity worked together around them to succeed,” she said.  Goalkeeper Ashley Acosta has had a strong senior year. “She really found herself this season and has done an amazing job making some unbelievable saves for us,” said Kissane.

Sophmore Sierra Stone was RHAM’s leading goal-scorer for the second year in a row. “Even as an underclassman, she is a leader on the field,” said Kissane. Seniors Bailey D'Antonio and Brooke Davis, “Together… have used their speed to blow by many defenses to score,” said Kissane.  The center-mid has been controlled by Ashleigh Jepson and Katrina Hersh. “They have a great eye for the field and their ability to pass has led to goal-scoring opportunities for us this season,” said Kissane. Jessica Cascio, as the quarterback at sweeper “controls the game and keeps us organized,” said Kissane. Others who have played significant roles this season, according to Kissane, are Rachel Pilver, Lexie Burgess, Sarah Ott, Caleigh O'Connor and Colleen McCormack. “This year’s success is truly a team effort,” she said.

“There is no one player on this team that defines our team; instead, they are all great players working together to be the team to beat,” said Kissane. “Teams struggle against us because they cannot stop one player. When they do, we are able to use someone else to succeed.”

RHAM’’s 2013 season ended on Nov. 11 with a Class L semifinal round loss against Guilford. The final score was 1-0. Guilford will take on Branford for the title.

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