Just one more win, or tie, would have qualified the Greenwich High School girls soccer team to compete in the 2018 state tournament, a destination it’s determined to reach this fall.
“The last two seasons we’ve been one game away from the state tournament,” Cardinals coach Simon Rumbold said. “Making it to the state tournament is definitely our aim, we would like to break through and push on this year.”
Following a tough start, the Cardinals finished their 2018 campaign strong, going 3-0-1 in their final four games. Senior captains Clay Garrett and Jordan Moses, who are veterans on the varsity squad, hope to help the team emerge as a contender in the FCIAC during the upcoming season.
“I’m very excited about our team,” said Garrett, who is entering her third season as the Cardinals starting goalie. “We just had our first scrimmage (Wednesday) and I was very impressed with our level of play. I am definitely looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish this season.”
Moses, who is also one of the captains of Greenwich’s girls basketball team, is a starting center midfielder. She will be looked upon to help the Cards consistently move the ball up the field.
“I definitely see a lot of potential in terms of our team getting the ball down and spacing ourselves,” Moses said. “It’s a quick league, but once we show that we can get quick touches and get our idea out there, things will be really good for us.”
Added Rumbold: “I feel positive, this is a good group to work with and I believe we can mold it into something great.”
AT THE HELM: Rumbold is beginning his third season as coach at GHS. He spent four years as an assistant coach at Yeshiva University before arriving at Greenwich in 2017. Erin Martschenko is the Cardinals’ junior varsity coach and varsity assistant. The Cardinals posted a record of 5-9-2 in 2018.
WHO’S GONE?: Graduation claimed 11 players from last season’s squad, including captains Sophia Ruelle, Sofia Zajec and Samantha Sias. Ruelle earned All-FCIAC Second Team honors. Naomi Kostman, Katie Large and Nicole Huber were also among some of the graduates.
WHO’S BACK?: Junior Sophia Bastek, one of the Cardinals’ leading scorers a year ago, returns at the forward position. Sophomore Kelly Martynov, who aided the team offensively last year, will see action as a midfielder and forward. Senior Claudio Caruso, also a playmaker, is back at midfield/forward. Moses brings leadership and experience at the center midfielder position, while juniors Kristen Berzolla and Celine Cohen should solidify the backline as defenders.
Among some of the other returning players is Garrett, who was effective in goal last season and should be primed for an productive 2019 campaign. Freshman midfielder Caroline Lawrence has turned in an impressive preseason, as has freshman forward Sam Craven.
STRENGTHS: “We’re going to be really strong in the midfield this year with JoJo (Moses) at the six,” Garrett said. “Our team has a lot of good options and even though our defense is pretty new, we are going to be strong.”
Rumbold likes the leadership he’s already seen from his two captains, as they help instill the squad’s style of play.
“They have been great, they were leaders as well, even before they were captains,” Rumbold said. “It’s been nice to see their progression the past couple of years. They have insight in terms of what I’m looking for and how we want things to be done.”
CAPTAIN’S COMMENTS: “I think we have a really good chance this year, our team looks really good. Our set plays should be really good. We’ve been moving the ball super well and getting it wide. I expect our defense to be really good too.”
Said Garrett: “Keeping the ball down, which is something we worked on last year, will be essential to the team’s success.”
SHOWDOWNS: Ridgefield, Sept. 14, away; New Canaan, Sept. 17, away; Darien, Sept. 19, home; Stamford, Sept. 21, home; St. Joseph, away, Sept. 25; Staples, home, Oct. 2; Fairfield Warde, home, Oct. 7; Westhill, home, Oct. 11.