From day one, Caroline Monahan was an integral part of the Lauralton Hall soccer team. Every game throughout her stellar career, she was a threat to score at any time.
She scored in her first varsity game as a freshman – in fact it was the game’s only goal – to help beat the then defending Southern Connecticut Conference and Class L state champion, Guilford. That was also Lauralton’s first game as an SCC member.
And Monahan also scored in her final game this season against Rockville. In between there were 78 other goals for the Crusaders, including 23 this season, along with six assists, earning Monahan the Register’s Area MVP.
“I can’t comprehend that it’s over,” Monahan said. “It’s like a part of me. It will be hard next year. I’ll always have Lauralton soccer in my blood. It will be really hard to not be a part of the team and not be on the field with them.”
Steve Waizenegger just completed his first season as varsity coach after a decade-long stint as the boys coach at St. Joseph.
“She was an extremely easy kid to coach. I’m pleased she welcomed me in,” Waizenegger said. “You don’t always get an opportunity to coach kids like that.”
Naturally, there were some rough patches. Monahan herself said she slumped to start the season.
“At the beginning of the season, I was in a little slump,” Monahan said. “When we played Seymour, I wasn’t playing well again. He yelled at me at halftime. He knew I had more in me. He helped me realize I had so much more to give.”
More to give? Monahan went on a stretch unmatched by anyone else in the league: 13 goals in four games. Two days after Seymour, Monahan scored four times against Guilford, twice against Mercy, four more against Cheshire and a hat trick in the first half against Lyman Hall.
But don’t ask Monahan to describe her best goals. Once the goal is scored, normally, it was onto the next task, the next play.
“If my dad misses a game, he asks, ‘How did you score?’ I can’t tell him. I don’t remember,” Monahan said. “It’s really weird. How do you not remember it? I guess it’s all muscle memory.”
How about remembering the final goal of her high school career? That’s something she won’t forget. It happened against Rockville in the Class L state tournament’s opening round. But it’s entirely for the wrong reason: she broke her left leg.
“It felt like slow motion. I had shot already. (The defender) hit my planted leg. I remember hitting the ground. I was screaming, ‘Call 911! Get my parents!’”
Monahan said she had surgery the following day to repair the broken tibia and fibia in her left leg. She said she shed the crutches in December and will “be running by January” as she begins preparation for her college career.
“It’s part of the game. It wasn’t easy . I have to come back stronger. It will make me hungrier,” Monahan said. “I was literally on the couch for two weeks. I take things less for granted. I will cherish walking and running. It will make me train harder. I don’t have a doubt in my mind I will come back stronger.”
Monahan also earned SCC Player of the Year, coaches all-state and All-New England honors this season.
As far as the college recruiting process, Monahan had her heart set on one Division I school: William & Mary. She visited the school when her sister played a field hockey tournament at the school in Williamsburg, Virginia. She soon would receive a partial scholarship.
Julie Cunningham was named to replace longtime coach John Daly as William & Mary’s head women’s soccer coach in December. Monahan will be staying put.
“They are getting a very dynamic player, technically proficient with both feet, explosive with speed,” Waizenegger said. “I’d like to see her play at that level, be surrounded with players of her caliber. I think she will go right in and play as a freshman. She will be ready for it mentally and physically.”