TORRINGTON >> “Rebuilding” is a relative term in high school sports.
Wolcott Tech’s boys and girls soccer teams are each doing it.
The boys are working to get back to high win levels they’ve enjoyed for the past few years.
The girls are focused on replacing a core of great leaders as their path to the tournament.
With the Wildcat move from the Berkshire League to the Constitution State Conference two years ago, the boys have gone 12-5-1 and 11-5-2, with a state tournament win each year. Nine seniors, including eight starters, graduated from that team.
The girls haven’t fared as well on the scoreboard (1-10-2 and 3-11-1), but Coach Ray Royals is more concerned with the progress of a program that was moribund before he took over than with actual wins so far.
“The five seniors who graduated (Heather Price, Konnor Gurbak, Suzzanah Koslak, Regina Namey and Bella Tapia) were huge in the progress as role models and individuals,” said Royals. “On the field, we’re finding it hard to fill their places. We have firepower, but a brand new midfield has to get them the passes they need.”
“We have a lot of young talent,” said boys coach Paul Bazzano. “Our defense is upperclassmen, but our midfield and forward positions are young.”
Key players on each team are equally positive in the process.
“We put a lot of emphasis on effort,” says Royals, introducing seniors Cindy Som, Ashley Desrosiers, Chelsea DiMauro, Jess LaMere and Sarah Morey.
“It means not giving up,” said DiMauro, in her fourth year as Wildcat goalkeeper.
“We’re concentrating on working as a team with a bunch of new teammates,” said LaMere, a center midfielder transplanted from defense this year.
“It’s our job to teach the younger kids our positions for when we graduate,” said Som, a three-year forward.
The boys senior captains echo many of the same thoughts.
“We’re a really young team, so we have to make sure we mesh together. If we don’t, nothing works,” said Mike Chiaravalloti, an All-League forward for the last two years (18 goals, one assist last year).
“He’s the best goalkeeper in the league,” said Bazzano, extolling Chiaravalloti’s multiple talents.
“Where I play depends on who we’re playing,” smiled Chiaravalloti.
“Team chemistry is really important,” said forward Chad Winn. “We’re old. If we can get the younger kids clicking in the right way, that’s part of our job. Some of these kids are already playing older than they are.”
“Some of them are playing like seniors,” said Brian Bourbonniere, charged with keeping the midfield grounded.
For both teams, the efforts come down to similar bottom lines as well – trying to qualify for the state tournament, but also bonding in the effort.
“We’re a huge family,” said DiMauro.
“It’s fun just to be together,” said Desrosiers.
“We want to be there for each other even outside of soccer,” said Morey.
“We’re just like sisters,” said LaMere. “We don’t always get along, but we love each other.”
On the boys side:
“We’re trying to get to states and just do our best,” said Bourbonniere.
“We want to win, but we’re out there bonding on the field,” said Chiaravalloti. “A lot of soccer is about mentality. We’re ready to take our lumps together. If we lose, we lose.”
“These people are out here because they want to be,” said Coach Bazzano.