Dave Burnham, Rare Reminder, October 2, 2014
The Rockville Rams girls soccer team left Rocky Hill High School’s McVicar Field on Sept. 23rd on the wrong side of a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Terriers. The final score could have been a lot different, however, had the hosts put away the many chances they created.
Proceedings began with the Terriers players being escorted onto the field by the roster of the local Sidekicks soccer program. Rocky Hill Sidekicks is a structured school-age soccer program for children with special needs where they can be involved with soccer-related activities under the tutelage of the RHHS girls who recruit “buddies” from the program.
Held on Saturday mornings from 11am to 12 noon at McVicar Field, Sidekicks’ first session, coached by RHHS girls head soccer coach Annmarie Catania, was on Saturday, Sept. 13. The program runs until Saturday, Nov. 1st.
“As a group we would like to give back to the community so the girls give up their Saturday mornings to work with this very special group of kids. We’re very honored to be part of this program. I’m proud of the girls’ commitment to it,” said Catania.
From the start of the game, the Rocky Hill girls made sure that Rockville goalkeeper Shelby Barnes was not going to have a quiet night between the sticks. Barnes was peppered with shots and crosses from center midfielder Madison Stabile and outside midfielder Madison Nastri for the first 20 minutes of the game.
With 19:56 of the first half remaining it was Rockville who opened the scoring against the run of play when Morgan Skoly slotted the ball past RHHS keeper Marissa Carriera.
The Terriers’ reply was swift and spectacular. Just 90 seconds after falling behind, Rocky Hill was awarded a free kick 25 yards out from the Rockville goal. Stabile stepped up and, showing great vision, sweetly chipped the ball over Barnes’ head after noticing the goalie had strayed off her line.
The crowd barely had time to settle down from celebrating the goal when Stabile sent the Rams reeling, hammering home another 25-yarder from open play.
“Those two goals were beautiful, as good as you’ll see anywhere in soccer,” stated Catania.
Hungry for possession, Rocky Hill continued to spread the ball around with some accurate passing that created more shooting opportunities. A worry for the Terriers came 10 minutes before half time when Nastri limped off the field to have a leg injury iced.
The lively, competitive midfielder returned for the second half and immediately posed a threat by forcing a save from Barnes with just 15 seconds shaved off the clock. The tone was set for the second half as the Terriers midfield took control, creating plenty of scoring chances.
With 22:53 left, Nastri latched onto a pass from Stabile and fired a shot that hit the junction of the bar and goalpost. Try as the Terriers might, a goal would not follow to seal the game in their favor.
They survived a scare in the last five minutes as the Rams rallied and pinned the RHHS defense in the last third of the field for several minutes, but like their opponents, Rockville could not find the back of the net, leaving the hosts to take the keenly contested match up.
“We’ve played better than this. We didn’t finish the way I would have liked. We had plenty of shots but we just couldn’t finish,” Catania said.
“I’m happy with how hard the girls are working, but we have a lot of work to do. We’re low in numbers this year so that hurts the development of the program. We had to cancel the JV season [first year ever] due to that,” Catania continued. “We usually have between 10 and 14 freshman come in. This year we have eight in the freshman class and only four in the sophomore class. When you have two classes with low numbers it hurts in a small town like ours.
“I push the girls to be the best they can be at all times. How you practice is how you play is a statement that they hear all the time. We train hard and help one another to attain our individual and team goals. Our motto on and off the field is ‘Alone equals nothing and together equals everything.’
“I’m not a screamer nor do I micro manage every move they make on the field. I’m quiet in that regard in hopes of them having the confidence and taking what they learned in practice to the game,” Catania said.
“I have high expectations of them in many areas. I want them to leave RHHS feeling proud of themselves and the program and wanting to come back to support it. Their character will matter more than anything else 20 years from now.”
The goal for the team is to qualify and be a strong contender in the state championship. In 2013, the Terriers were #6 seeds but lost to #27 Sheehan, 2-0, in the first round.
Catania said the team was going to be “working on finishing, our angles and our crossing” in preparation for the game with Bloomfield on Sept. 26th.
The practice clearly paid off as the Terriers clipped the Warhawks’ wings, 6-0, behind a pair of goals from Jenna Chipkin. Nastri, Stabile, Allison Grover and Brittany Moore all scored one apiece, giving the team a record of four wins, two losses and one tie.
See the published feature HERE