Coach Pete Trenchard expected a rebuilding season at Lauralton Hall. The soccer program lost more than half its starters.
Now almost half of the Crusaders’ starting lineup (five) are freshman. Two of them start on defense, where Lauralton has allowed just two goals over its first seven games.
“I’m very pleased, especially with two freshman starting in the back,” Trenchard said. “I knew it would be a transition year with what we lost.”
Grace Healy and Dana Daconta join co-captains, senior Emma Dunleavy and junior Maggie Salandra, on defense for the Crusaders (4-1-2), who have pitched shutouts thus far against Brookfield, Oxford, Notre Dame-Fairfield, Immaculate and Kolbe Cathedral. Pomperaug and Bethel are the only teams to penetrate that tough defensive group with one goal apiece.
Senior Emma McCarthy, another captain, returns as the starting goalkeeper for Lauralton Hall.
“Defensively, we have done a very good job limiting other team’s scoring opportunities,” Trenchard said. “Emma McCarthy’s reflexes are fabulous. She has made saves that has kept us in games.”
Dunleavy is Lauralton’s tallest starter on defense at 5-foot-10, but what the quartet may lack in size, they more than make up for it in skill.
“Tactically, they are all very smart and aware, which makes up for the lack of size,” Trenchard said. “They don’t get rattled in a big game.”
That will be key with Masuk, Barlow and Newtown upcoming over the next two weeks.
Approaching the century mark
North Haven boys coach Federico Fiondella is one win short of reaching 100 for his career. He can reach the century mark on Tuesday when the Indians host Branford on Tuesday in a key SCC Oronoque Division game.
Now in his 13th season, Fiondella has led North Haven to the Oronoque Division title either outright or shared four times (2005, 2008, 2010, and 2011) an to the CIAC state tournament nine times. Fiondella currently has a 99-93-24 record.
“This symbolizes all of the hard work and dedication put forth by my current players, as well as my former players,” Fiondella said. “As I always tell the team, we have something very special here in North Haven, and I for one, am so fortunate to be a part of it. I could not ask for a more respectful, loyal, and hard-working group of young men to coach, past and present.”
In addition to thanking the players and both family and administration members, Fiondella recognized his longtime assistant coach, R.J. Notaro.
The soccer program has been recognized for its sportsmanship by both the SCC and The Greater New Haven Soccer Officials Association under Fiondella’s direction.
Guilford or Hand?
The first doubleheader of the SCC’s premier rivalry in soccer begins on Tuesday.
The Surf Club will host the Guilford-Hand doubleheader, the girls beginning at 4:30 p.m., followed by the boys at 7.
Both will have significant impacts in the SCC Hammonasset Division race. Hand is the defending SCC Hammonasset Division champion for both the boys and the girls.
Who will win those games? Vote here. Polls close at 4 p.m. Tuesday.