Sports Person of the Week
DellaRocco’s Solid in the Warriors’ Goal
Alexis DellaRocco has started in goal for the Warriors since she was a sophomore and is now gearing up to play net during her senior season. (Photo courtesy of Alexis DellaRocco )
Alexis DellaRocco stepped into the starting goalie position for the Valley Regional girls’ soccer team during her sophomore year. Now a senior, she continues to be a mainstay in the Warriors’ net. As the fall season approaches, Alexis is looking to make a big impact on a Valley squad that features its fair share of seniors, along with a slew of up-and-coming underclass athletes.
Serving as the line of defense comes with a ton of responsibility. There are times when the ball gets deep in the zone, and an opposing player has a one-on-one opportunity against Alexis. When that happens, she reads the situation and lets her instincts take over.
“In the moment, you just do it. In that situation, I try to close as much space between me and the player as possible,” says Alexis. “When I see their hips or their feet, that’s how I can tell where they are going to shoot, and then I just try to stop it. Sometimes it happens so fast, you just react to it.”
Alexis prides herself on making sure that she and her teammates are on the same page on the pitch. Alexis is a vocal goalie who constantly keeps everyone talking and working as a unit.
“In terms of me and the team, I think our best moments come from being on the field and communicating together,” Alexis says. “When I’m just talking to my defense, and they’re communicating to the offense, it helps us make the plays in order to score a goal. I think those are our best moments.”
Alexis’s first attempt at playing soccer was a bit of a struggle. However, she soon realized that she was best suited to play the goalkeeper’s position.
“When I was really young, I tried soccer, and it didn’t work out so well,” says Alexis, a Chester resident. “Then the 8th grade came around, and I thought I wasn’t really good with my feet, so I would just try out goalkeeper. That’s worked out really well.”
First-year Head Coach Lauren MacDonald has only worked with Alexis for a brief period of time, although she sees the valuable role that her goalie plays for the Warriors. MacDonald became the head coach this year after joining Valley Regional as an assistant coach last season.
“Alexis is not only a great soccer player, but a fantastic young woman. From the time I met her last fall to now, she has improved drastically as a goalkeeper,” MacDonald says. “Alexis has become more confident with her skills and, vocally, she is a born leader. I can’t wait to see what this season brings for her and her entire team.”
In addition to playing soccer for Valley, Alexis also competes for the Southeast Soccer Club during the offseason. Alexis believes that the faster pace of the Connecticut Club Soccer League gives her a bit of an edge during the high school campaign.
“The speed of play is way faster. It’s more a fluid connected motion as a team. And for the level of soccer, I think it’s way more competitive. The shots are harder, and it’s just a lot faster compared to high school,” says Alexis. “I think there’s more room for growth because of that speed of play. It helps me make quicker decisions and learn from my mistakes better.”
When things are getting a little too hectic out on the field, Alexis will sometimes use music to help her calm her nerves. Alexis is part of the Musical Club at Valley Regional, and her sister Brooke is an accomplished performer, as well.
“I’m really into singing and acting and, I think at a certain point, it helps me take my mind off stressful things,” says Alexis. “During a game, I like to sing to myself, and singing and acting have just really helped me grow as a person, too. I guess it runs in the family.”
Alexis believes that the Warriors are starting to jell as a group as they get ready to open up the 2019 season. At first, there were challenges with integrating some of the club’s newcomers. However, as everyone gets more comfortable playing together, Alexis feels confident that Valley will be able to hold its own.
“During summer season, it’s been a bit rough, but I think come our fall season, we’ll be good,” Alexis says. “I think in the beginning we were getting used to the freshmen, but we’re getting closer. I think we’re understanding how we’ll play with Coach MacDonald, and everything will really set itself up.”