Sports Person of the Week
Riccio Locks Things Down on Defense
Senior captain Olivia Riccio solidified a spot on the All-Shoreline Conference First Team after playing some great defense for the Huskies last fall. (Photo courtesy of Olivia Riccio )
Olivia Riccio proved one of the top defenders on the Shoreline Conference girls’ soccer circuit during the 2020 fall season. Olivia’s excellent play on defense helped the Morgan girls’ soccer squad have a solid campaign in which the Huskies notched a record of 5-2-3.
A senior captain, Olivia solidified Morgan’s back line with her performance at the defender position last fall. Although the Huskies were unable to play in the Shoreline Conference Tournament, they still had a great campaign that saw the team post seven shutouts, while giving up just five goals all year.
“The past fall season for soccer wasn’t the easiest, but I’m very grateful to at least spend time with my teammates and get a couple games in,” says Olivia. “We weren’t able to participate in the Shoreline Tournament due to COVID, but I was pretty confident in my team that we would have made it far and would have had promising results of a win.”
Although the fall season wasn’t quite what Olivia and her teammates expected, there were still many memorable moments for Morgan both on and off the field. Olivia credits Head Coach Steve Sullivan for using his good- natured approach to help the Huskies persevere through an unusual campaign.
“There was one practice after school where we all decided to wear our Hawaiian shirts from spirit week during practice as a little joke to Coach Sullivan. We all expected a different reaction out him, but the first thing he said was, ‘Why didn’t anyone tell me about this? I would’ve worn mine!’” Olivia says. “The positive atmosphere Sully created on and off the field is what got us through this difficult season.”
A three-year varsity starter, Olivia earned All-Shoreline Conference First Team honors for her efforts on defense as a senior. Coach Sullivan says that Olivia did an outstanding job as both a defender and a leader throughout the season.
“Olivia has been a four-year member of Morgan girls’ soccer and a three-year varsity player. Because of her organizational and leadership skills, she was voted by her teammates as one of our captains this past season,” says Sullivan. “Olivia is a physically strong and skilled defender who, along with others, helped to solidify a very stingy back line. Of the 10 games that we were able to play, our team only allowed five goals and recorded seven shutouts. Olivia was very influential in keeping our defense organized and balanced.”
Soccer came naturally to Olivia after she started playing at a young age. The more she played, the more Olivia fell in love with the sport.
“When I was little, I was always energetic and athletic, so my parents put me in soccer when I was in kindergarten. My dad also played soccer when he was in high school and, from what I heard, he was pretty good, so I felt the need to follow in his footsteps,” Olivia says. “My favorite aspect of soccer is the bond it creates between people from all around. I’ve met some of my closest friends from playing on multiple soccer teams. It truly feels like a second close-knit family.”
In addition to playing for Morgan, Olivia competes for the Shoreline Rush soccer team at the Premier level. Even when she’s away from the pitch, Olivia still focuses on maintaining her physical fitness by working out in her spare time.
“I like to stay active, and I’m always looking for ways to better myself outside of soccer. I love to work out, so I can stay in shape,” says Olivia. “In the offseason, I play for my Premier soccer team Shoreline Rush, so I keep a soccer ball at my feet year-round. I used to play basketball and lacrosse, but when I realized how important soccer is to me, I dedicated all my time to it. It became the only sport I participated in.”
Aside from soccer, Olivia is an active member of her community who enjoys volunteering. Olivia also spends as much time as she can with her family and friends.
“In my free time, I love to go for hikes, go skiing, go to the beach, travel, and spend time with friends,” Olivia says. “I’m very passionate about helping people and the environment, so I participate in beach cleanups. I’m also dedicated to volunteer work through my church.”
In the end, Olivia would have loved to have finished her high school career by competing alongside her Morgan teammates in the Shoreline Conference Tournament. However, Olivia still feels pleased about what the team achieved and has faith that the Huskies will come back better than ever next season.
“I wish the best for all the girls next year and hope they get a better season than we had,” Olivia says. “I’m also very honored to be selected as First Team All-Shoreline and couldn’t have done it without the support of my family and coaches.”