GRANBY >> Two years ago, the Granby High girls soccer team won their first NCCC championship since 1988. A year ago, the Bears won 12 games and advanced to the second round of the Class M tournament.
The Bears expect to be competitive and one of the top teams in the NCCC.
However, some years it takes a little time to put it all together. It was a rough start for Granby, which dropped their first three games of the season by a combined score of 9-0. But the Bears have rebounded with five straight wins, including three consecutive shutouts.
“You get that first win and we seem to be coming together, gelling as a team,” Granby coach Gerry Trieschmann said. “They’re working hard in practice and they having fun together.”
It was a rough beginning for the Bears. Two-time defending Class L champion Avon nipped Granby in the season opener, 1-0. The Bears played well but made a few mistakes that cost them in a 2-0 defeat to Ellington.
The Bears got smacked in game 3 – a 6-0 loss to Suffield, a team that has been impressive this fall. As of last week, Suffield was 7-0 and had not yet given up a goal this season. Suffield also beat up on Avon, handing the Falcons a 5-0 defeat.
There was some tension. “This team despises losing,” Trieschmann said. “We have a lot of strong personalities on this team – some fiery personalities.”
Winning and some success on the field helped bring the team together. Junior Julie Mazzotta had two goals in a 3-2 decision over Bolton. That was followed with a 1-0 decision over Enfield with Mazzotta scoring the game-winning goal and junior goalie Paige Holden earning the shutout with 10 saves.
A pair of second half goals from Lily Holm and Hanna Cormier lifted Granby past Canton, 2-0. The Bears took control in the game, outshooting the Warriors by a 16-1 margin.
Last Friday, Granby shutout Stafford, 4-1. Holm, Mazzotta, Kleis and defender Sarah Wutka had goals. Wutka had her first goal of the season scoring off a direct kick. The Bears improved to 5-3 with its fifth straight victory Tuesday in a 6-1 decision over East Granby.
“We’re starting to gel and play well together on the field,” Trieschmann said. “They’re growing as a team.”
The defense has solidified in the past four games. Wutka, Emily Uhl, Holly Sulzinski are playing well on the back line, allowing just one goal in the past four games. Lexi Kulik is also helping out as a defensive midfield specialist.
Trieschmann hopes the growth continues. Granby, which needs another four wins to qualify for the Class M tournament, closes out its regular season with games against Ellington, Suffield and Avon under the lights on their new artificial turf field at the high school on Oct. 18, 22 and 28, respectively.
Results have been mixed for Canton (2-6). Scoring goals in the NCCC isn’t easy with quality competition. The Warriors got goals from Oliva Sullivan, Erin Detorie, Emily Mitchell and Maggie Treacy in a 4-0 win over Hartford’s Sport Medicine Science Academy on opening day.
Canton had six goals in a big win over East Windsor with Sullivan, Detorie, Mitchell, Katie Walker, Zoe Van Kirk and Sophia Langou each finding the back of the net. Goalie Amanda Gottlieb picked up the shutout in both victories.
However, since the win over East Windsor, the Warriors have lost three in a row to Granby (2-0), Bolton (4-0) and Avon.
The girls hope to get back on the winning track when they tangle with Ellington on Saturday night in the first game of the annual nigh soccer doubleheader in Canton. The girls will play at 6 p.m. on the new multi-purpose field at the high school that will be illuminated by portable, diesel lighting units.
The Canton boys (2-6) will face Ellington at 8 p.m. in the second game of the doubleheader.