Victories in five consecutive games, including a Senior Day win on Friday, has Sacred Heart Greenwich rolling into the Fairchester Athletic Association Soccer Tournament.
“We are fired up and full of confidence at this moment,” Sacred Heart coach Stuart Smith said. “I give our players credit, they have stepped up and it shows in how they are playing. They are creating a lot of good chances and have (been) a bit more ruthless in front of goal.”
The third-seeded Tigers will host sixth-seeded Hopkins School in the FAA Tournament quarterfinals on Monday at 2 p.m. Sacred Heart enters the game with an overall record of 11-6-1 and a 6-2-1 mark in the FAA. Hopkins is 4-3-2 in the fall and dueled the Tigers to a 1-1 draw on Oct. 17. The Hilltoppers have eliminated Sacred Heart from the FAA tourney the past two seasons. Last season, Hopkins beat Sacred Heart in the tournament’s semifinals in overtime and in 2016, the Tigers were beaten by the Hilltoppers on penalty kicks in the quarterfinal-round.
“We are hoping to turn that around this year,” Stuart said. “Our goal all year has been to get to the finals, to get a step further. This year, we are the higher seed and I feel we are getting (a) big boost from playing at home. We like playing on grass.”
Junior Leah Atkins tallied twice with one assist, while sophomores Alana Frederick and Fernanda Serna each had one goal and one assist in the Tigers’ 5-1 triumph against King School on Friday.
Both of Atkins’ goals came off headers.
“We had only scored off one header the past three years and Leah scored two on Friday, which was something,” Stuart said.
A balanced scoring attack has helped key the Tigers’ throughout the season. Frederick and junior Lara Patricio have been consistent scorers at forward, as have junior Amelia Sheehan and Atkins, both of whom are playmakers at the midfield position. Sophomore forward Taylor O’Meara has also contributed offensively.
“We don’t rely on one or two players, our offense is centered on the team,” Stuart said. “In the tournament, we have to continue to play with confidence, move the ball well and take our chances like we have been the past few games. We also need to be strong defensively.”
Corroon, the starting goalie, defender Laura Moore, midfilder Caroline Conrad, midfielder Claire Liddy and Julia Veber were honored on Senior Day.
“They way they manage academic and sports and their workload is impressive,” Stuart said. “I’m very appreciated of the leadership they have shown. They will leave with this program in a good place because of them.”