Rocky Hill sophomore Arianna Daley gets ready to boot the ball at Wethersfield High School during the Terriers and Eagles tie last Tuesday night / Wethersfield’s senior captain Avery Ford is defended by Rocky Hill’s captain Skylar Sweeney on Sept. 26.
Playing in a thickening fog at Cottone Field last Tuesday night, Wethersfield and Rocky Hill girls soccer played to a 1-1 tie.
The host Eagles scored in the first half when Kayla Ward hammered home a shot exactly 13 minutes into the game.
Following nearly 59 scoreless minutes, Rocky Hill evened the score when Kaitlyn Pereau delivered a perfectly-placed corner kick that Madisyn Aurigemma headed home with 8:12 remaining in regulation.
It was a tale of two halves for a pair of teams looking to make postseason pushes.
***Terriers Tough and Talented***
Following an 8-3-5 regular season and a tournament appearance a season ago, Rocky Hill has again shown that same fight, going toe-to-toe with every opponent this season.
Head coach Annmarie Catania said she liked how her team responded to adversity on the road, crediting her team for playing until the final whistle.
“Wethersfield is always a battle,” added Catania. “ I was happy we hung in there, I am very proud of them.”
Facing the one-goal deficit, senior Olivia Bozzi said the team talked at halftime about capitalizing on their opportunities over the final 40 minutes.
“We talked about shooting more. We’ve been struggling with it all season, and we just had to take it to them,” added Bozzi. “I think we did a good job; it was a great way to end the game.”
Catania said Bozzi, a defensive captain, has been, “a strong leader” that gives 100% every time she’s on the field.
Bozzi, who is captaining the team with fellow seniors Arianna Borukhovich and Skylar Sweeney, is helping protect the backend for first-year starting goalie Angelina Daley. Dailey came up with a handful of saves against an Eagles attack that possessed the ball for a majority of the game.
Catania said the communication on both ends has been good, adding, “This team has come together –– they have a mutual respect for one another.”
Through the first six games, Aurigemma leads the team in goals scored, including a two-goal performance on Sept. 15 when the Terriers tied Newington (2-2) in another battle against a larger opponent from the Central Connecticut Conference (CCC).
Catania added that returning all-conference midfielders Elena Valle and Addyson Grant have solidified the center, calling the pair the “engine” of the team.
Along with the two ties against Wethersfield and Newington, the team posted a signature 2-0 win over Hall on Sept. 29 and most recently blanked Harford Public (7-0) last Friday, bringing their record to 2-2-2 entering the week
With only four seniors on the roster, Catania is hoping the team’s young lineup can mesh before the postseason starts next month.
This Friday, Oct. 6, Rocky Hill visits Southington High School for a game against the Knights (6 p.m.) before next hosting Northwest Catholic at McVicar Field on Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 3:45 p.m.
Bozzi believes the team had the right attitude to play well down the stretch.
“It’s a true honor to be a captain of this team,” added Bozzi. “I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls and we all have each other’s backs.”
***Eagles Eyeing Consistency***
After his team gave up the late goal to Rocky Hill, Wethersfield head coach Tony Leone said the result was a “disappointment” but credited Rocky Hill, saying “they play good soccer and to their credit, they hung in.”
Part of the disappointment for Leone was that the tie with the Terriers came on the heels of a 3-0 loss to Glastonbury.
“[The players] always work hard, they always come to compete, but we don’t always play smart,” stated Leone. “Something had been off the last couple of games. We just have to find our rhythm in a hurry.”
Following the tie, Leone’s team responded with back-to-back impressive wins over Bloomfield (6-1) last Thursday and Windsor (6-0) on Friday.
The Eagles also posted a three-game winning streak earlier in the season in which they outscored the trio of opponents 13-1.
Leone said the team was attacking during those games, crediting his captains for leading the charge.
Ward, along with Avery Ford, Lauren Darrell, and first-year goalie Riley Keane are captaining the Eagles on the field.
Ward, Ford, and Darrell all earned all-conference last fall and Keane is replacing all-conference goalie and 2023 graduate Vanessa Venditti.
“Defensively we pretty much have our defense we had last year,” added Leone. “I’m confident in that group.”
Next up is a road game at Enfield High School on Friday, Oct. 6 (3:45 p.m.) before returning to Cottone Field to battle Newington on Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 3:30 p.m.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin