Twin sisters Gabi & Tori Vallagra (left) and Emma & Annie Klementon (right) are helping lead Eagles soccer this fall
Back in 1992 the movie Sister Act was competing with Encino Man for box office sales. The 2020 version of Sister Act is presently competing on the local soccer fields.
Wethersfield girls’ soccer has six sisters, including two sets of twins, playing and sharing the same field together.
Twin’s Emma and Annie Klementon, Tori and Gabi Villagra, and sisters Sierra and Brooke Judson are starring for an Eagles team that entered the week undefeated.
“It’s pretty cool that they get to play with their siblings and in our case, sets of twins. There is a comfort level between them,” stated Wethersfield coach Tony Leone, “Emma and Annie look to play off one another and with Gabi and Tori you can definitely see that connection even though they play different positions.”
The Klementon and Villagra twins, along with the older Judson [Sierra] are pieces of a robust 2021 class, consisting of 14 seniors.
Emma Klementon missed a majority of her junior year due to an injury and has returned with a purpose this fall, scoring a team-high 10 goals, “I wanted to do this for myself because I didn’t do that well last year. Since it was my last year I wanted it to go be really good.”
“We had a lot of preseason this year which has really helped, and we’ve been playing together a lot, which has made me more comfortable.”
Annie Klementon shined a season ago and entered the 2020 season with high hopes for the sisters and her fellow seniors, “We all made sure that we were training and being safe because we really didn’t want it to get cancelled, especially after the long preseason. So we came together, trained, and stayed safe.”
“It’s been a positive environment this season. I wasn’t as confident as a younger player but now I’m playing more and contributing more. Everyone has been positive and we’re actually doing good and we want to continue to do good.”
The Klementon twins have given Leone additional offensive firepower, “You could tell they put in work during the summer and they came in really fit from day one. You could see that [Emma] wanted to make up for last year, she came in with a great attitude. She started off hot and you know how that is for a goal scorer. It’s one goal, after another, after another.”
The Villagra twins are helping captain the team, balancing the field by doing all the little things.
Because of the unknown circumstances surrounding the season, Tori Villagra said she had to adjust her mindset, “I definitely approached it differently. I really wanted to try and win all of our games and it’s been amazing. It’s good too to see all of our hard work from since we were like nine years old paying off. But it’s not just soccer, it’s with the relationships that I have with everyone else. I’m trying to get close to all the younger girls just because I feel like I lost some time because of everything that happened.”
Gabi Villagra says the pandemic has brought the team closer together, “Wethersfield is a small town and we’ve played with each other a long, long time but honestly I think it has to do with COVID. You can see it on the field, we’re playing more for each other because we know it’s our last one together. We didn’t know what was going to happen, so we definitely want to play every game like it’s our last one.”
Last Tuesday, Wethersfield ousted Maloney 4-0 on a perfect fall night at Cottone Field.
Both Klementon sisters scored and Madi Righi added a goal and two assists. [Sierra] Judson scored her first goal of the season and added an assist.
Early on the team had trouble finding the net until Judson found Righi with a pass, which Righi blasted with a lefty boot to the upper left corner of the net, 29 minutes into the game.
Righi returned the favor in the second half when she offered up a high-arching, pinpoint corner kick to the opposite side of the net, which Judson headed in.
Judson and Righi have a noticeable chemistry on the field, which Leone credits with their time on the field together, “Those two have made varsity here all four years. Sierra hadn’t scored a goal this year and it was eating her up, but she has played at a high level all year. If she’s not on the field, we know that she’s not on the field. She doesn’t need to score goals to make a difference, but with that said she’s a competitor and she wants to score. Madi was on a mission to make sure she scored tonight. It was pretty fitting that she got her goal from Madi.”
Senior captain Ava Bielenda protected the net in the first half before turning over the duties to junior Riley Ford in the second half. Bielenda, Ford and Vanessa Venditti have rotated as the team’s keeper this season, keeping the net clean for a team that has allowed only two goals through the first nine games.
Entering the week, the Eagles stood at 8-0-1.
For Leone and his 14 seniors, this fall has provided many reasons to celebrate, yet is bittersweet.
“It was pretty conflicting, at least for me, because we knew that there is no postseason and from a competitive standpoint that’s what everyone wants to play for. It hurt knowing that this is a group that could compete for a state championship and yet there is none,” stated Leone “So the focus was, let’s not worry about what we don’t have, let’s worry about what we do have, and that’s the opportunity to play soccer, the game we love.”
Leone credits the players, particularly the seniors, with focusing on what they can control, “It’s been one day, one game at a time mentality and they have made it easy on me because their attitude has been amazing. Every day I walked down from the parking lot and I thank our lucky stars that we have another day. We are a state championship caliber team, and it doesn’t matter who we play, we have to show it every day. For them to come out and be motivated every game, I give them props. I think that’s the senior leadership part. No matter who the opponents is, they have come out to compete.”
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin