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Cuozzo Off to Fast Start as a Freshman
Sofia Cuozzo is starting at right wing for the Guilford girls’ ice hockey team as a freshman and has already netted 11 goals on the season. (Photo courtesy of Sofia Cuozzo )
Sofia Cuozzo was determined to earn a starting spot for the Guilford girls’ ice hockey team at the start of the 2021 season, and that’s exactly what she accomplished. Only a freshman, Sofia is playing right wing on the first line for the Grizzlies this winter.
Sofia has made an immediate impact for Guilford through the early goings of the season. Sofia felt honored to be on the ice for the first game of her career when Guilford earned a 7-5 win over the Hamden co-op on Feb. 14.
“My favorite moment so far this season was the first game. I’ve been looking forward to playing with some of these girls for years, and now I get to play with them,” says Sofia. “I think the key to my success has been communication. My fellow linemates Maddie Epke and Kim Evans have been really good with communicating with me on the ice for some of those tap-in goals.”
Guilford stormed out to a 4-1 start to the year, outscoring its opponents by a 38-20 margin in those contests. Sofia scored 11 goals for the Grizzlies during that stretch and is proving one of the keys to the team’s success.
“Working hard to find open spots has also been something that is the key to my success so far this season,” Sofia says. “It’s different playing at a high school level, and it can be harder to find open spots in front of the net. So, I have to work that much harder and keep moving, so that I can find an open spot in front of the net for goals.”
Head Coach Rick Binkowski had a feeling that Sofia was going to be key in helping to replace the six seniors who graduated from last year’s team. Binkowski is friends with the Cuozzo family and knew that Sofia was capable of succeeding for Guilford as a freshman.
“Sofia means a lot to our team this season. After a historic run last year, we lost six seniors. She is the offensive boost we need,” Binkowski says. “Sofia is a strong player and a natural goal scorer. She excelled early and continues to get better.”
Binkowski also credits Sofia for being a team leader right off the bat. The second-year head coach says that Sofia’s attitude makes other players around her want to become stronger athletes.
“Barely two weeks into her freshman season, Sofia is already demonstrating the characteristics of a team leader,” says Binkowski. “Her positive attitude, strong work ethic, confidence, and willingness to lead by example strengthens our team on and off the ice.”
Much of Sofia’s love for the game stems from her older brothers, Nicholas and Christian Cuozzo. When Sofia was two years old, she saw her brothers skating and wanted to give it a try.
Aside from playing hockey for Guilford, Sofia spends a lot of time training at Over The Top Athletes in North Haven. Sofia attends clinics where she focuses on increasing her speed and strength.
Sofia says the training facility has helped her better prepare to be a multi-sport athlete. That’s something that Sofia wants to put into practice when she tries out for the Guilford softball team this spring.
“I played soccer for the past couple of years, but I really want to play softball for the high school this year,” Sofia says. “I played softball from ages 5 to 11. I played outfield and third base. I would like to try and make the varsity team this year.”
As for the remainder of the girls’ hockey season, Sofia has her sights set on helping Guilford win its second-consecutive Southern Connecticut Conference championship. Following a solid start, the Grizzlies are now gearing up for the second half of their campaign.
“This season, although it is cut short, I think that we can bring home another championship,” says Sofia.