Glastonbury senior Alayna Christina scored the game-winning goal as GHS girls soccer defeated Farmington 3-2 in the season opener
Mark Landers debut as the girls’ soccer coach at Glastonbury High School was a doozy.
The longtime boys head coach watched as his Guardians erase a second half deficit, scoring a pair of goals in the final ten minutes to defeat Farmington 3-2 at Glastonbury High School last Thursday night.
“It shows our resiliency,” said Landers, who previously won 300+ games in 20 years with the boys’ program, “We got down and we could either continue to be down or we could pick each other up. I love the fact that we didn’t put out heads down and kept playing.”
The opening game featured non-stop action, a rowdy crowd, and a constant drizzle, which made playing conditions difficult.
First-year goalie Caroline Cohen was flawless in goal in the first half before allowing a pair of goals early in the second half.
Farmington’s Sabrina Krause scored both. The first after the ball slipped out of Cohen’s grip in front on the net and the second was a high-arching blast from nearly forty yards away.
Landers liked what he saw from his first-year goalkeeper, “She had to turn the page quick. It was a tough night to be a keeper and a tough night to play period.”
After falling behind 2-1, Landers modified his attack and the Guardians went offensive.
Sophomore Angela Chavez tied things up when she fired a straight away shot passed the outreached arms of Farmington goalie Margaret Huelin with 8:39 remaining.
“Angela had a great night for us tonight,” stated Landers, “She was very composed and settled the ball down for us tonight, which created a lot of opportunities. To see that our of a sophomore is pretty amazing.”
Four minutes later, versatile senior Alayna Christina put in the go-ahead goal.
“I was trying to drop it in back post and it went in,” said Christina, who liked how the team responded in the second half, “Coach Landers is always telling us to keep our enthusiasm up, so we made sure to not let that second goal get in our heads. We had to pick up our goalie and everyone around us. We just got is done.”
Christina, who is a starter on defense, also prevented a goal in the first half. The senior cleared the ball away the front of the net after Cohen dove to save a shot. Christina’s heads up defensive effort allowed the Guardians to maintain a 1-0 lead at the break.
Senior captain Delina Chavez led a defensive unit in front of Cohen. Fellow captains Katie Donovan and Sydney Kehl helped the team control the ball for a majority of the final 10 minutes of action.
Landers has leaned on his trio of captains in practice, “We have amazing leadership out of them. They are really trying to help this team bond together. We talk every day about connecting, our attitude, respect, and our enthusiasm, and I think you saw all four of those qualities tonight.”
Sophia Haussman and Tia Taleb also stood out offensively, while Mackenzie Landers made several noteworthy defensive plays.
“We’re still learning, we are still getting better,” stated Landers, “It was a good win. Farmington is an amazing team and they played a great game.”
It was the program’s 24th straight win, dating back to October of 2019. The team won the state title in 2019 and finished 14-0 with a conference title during a COVID-restrictive season a year ago.
Last Saturday they made it 25 in a row with 4-0 shutout of Shelton.
It’s a good start for a team that is excited to be back on the field.
“It’s so nice, especially after Covid, now that everything is getting back to almost normal,” said Christina, “It’s just good to be back.”
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin