North Haven Girls’ Soccer Put its Best Foot Forward This Fall
Senior captain Carly Fresher and the North Haven girls’ soccer squad came across some bumps in the road this fall, but never stopped putting their best foot forward on the pitch. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Megan Russo finished her soccer career in North Haven by leading the girls’ soccer team alongside fellow senior captains Emma Christoforo and Carly Fresher in 2020. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Senior captain Emma Christoforo provided some stout play on defense for North Haven throughout the recent fall campaign. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Senior Sophia Acquarulo and the North Haven girls’ soccer team saw an exciting moment when they won a 5-4 decision versus Lyman Hall this year. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Sophomore Giavanna Damone earned All-SCC Division A honors for her play at the midfielder position with the North Haven girls’ soccer team this season. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
As he entered his second year as the head coach of the North Haven girls’ soccer team, Head Coach Gary Collins knew that his athletes were going to have to battle through some obstacles in order to make it to the end of the season. Despite all the speed bumps, Coach Collins and company stayed the course and were able to continue developing the culture of the program.
“It was bittersweet in a way. The girls wanted to come out and play,” Collins said. “Waiting around was stressful for a lot of us, because the kids just wanted to be out there, train, and get together with our teammates. Luckily, the seniors were able to play and get some games in for their final year.”
North Haven finished with a record of 1-6 in a season that saw four games get canceled due to quarantine measures. North Haven’s win came in the form of a 5-4 victory versus Lyman Hall on Oct. 20. Regardless of any outcome, Collins said that his club kept battling through each practice and every game this fall.
“In some of the games we played, we showed the ability that we can put together a good game-plan. We had a very young team. We had no JV team, just varsity. We had freshmen coming in that were playing at the varsity,” said Collins. “But they train every day, they work hard, they showed they have a lot of abilities that we can work on heading into next season.”
North Haven featured five seniors on its roster in 2020, and Collins said that each one of them brought a different positive to this year’s squad. Midfielder Megan Russo and defenders Carly Fresher and Emma Christoforo served as North Haven’s senior captains. Collins called Russo a driving force who always helped the team move forward and added that Fresher and Christoforo provided a strong presence for North Haven on defense.
Collins said that senior Nadia Kavgaci proved a solid defender and played her best against North Haven’s toughest opponents this season. North Haven’s other senior was midfielder Sophia Acquarulo, whom Collins called a fighter and complimented for consistently playing at a high level.
Despite losing five seniors, Coach Collins said that there are numerous players on his roster whom he expects to take the next step next year. One of those players is junior forward Ada Forbes, who is known for her goal-scoring skills. Moving to the sophomore corps, Collins said that forward/midfielder Lily Coish is a hard worker who has a lot of potential. Collins also credited sophomore defender Ilana Blumenthal for stepping up on defense during the course of the season.
Sophomore midfielder Giavanna Damone earned a spot on the All-SCC Division A Team on behalf of North Haven for her performance. Coach Collins said that Damone is going to be key part of the team the next two seasons.
“Giavanna is a player who did everything that we asked of her. We had her play left back, but we were struggling in the center midfield defensively, so we took a chance and put Giavanna in the middle of the field. She did very well,” said Collins. “You could see the difference in games that we wouldn’t play her in the center of the field. There was a big difference defensively. She’s small, but she’s aggressive. She’s brave, and she’s not afraid of mixing it up with stronger players. She’s a very smart soccer player. She makes the game very simple.”
North Haven also had two freshmen start at the outside midfielder position in Rebecca Ford and Cameron Ryan. By having such a young team this year, Collins is hoping that the underclass athletes gained a good understanding of what it’s like to play on the varsity stage.
“It gives them some experience. They played consistently. That experience is what we wanted for them. Hopefully, they can feed off of it, and they can play knowing that they played varsity soccer,” Collins said. “They understand how competitive it is playing against bigger, stronger, older players. Hopefully, they can play in the spring and use that experience to get better for when they come back in the fall.
Although North Haven had to deal with some ups and downs this year, Coach Collins was pleased to see his team do so as a cohesive group. As he looks toward next season, Collins is hoping that the returning athletes keep building its culture in North Haven.
“We want to build a culture of a team-first mentality. To be successful, we have to work for each other,” said Collins. “We have to work for the team and all the teammates and provide that leadership on and off the field. Whether you’re a senior, junior, sophomore, or freshman. We want them to express themselves. Whatever negatives are, we turn it into positives. We work hard for each other, and everything else will fall into place.”
The North Haven girls’ soccer team’s roster featured senior captains Emma Christoforo, Carly Fresher, and Megan Russo; seniors Sophia Acquarulo and Nadia Kavgaci; juniors Sophia Chagnon, Ada Forbes, and Annalise Moulis; sophomores Samantha Adams, Ilana Blumenthal, Lily Coish, Giavanna Damone, Ava Maturo, and Aisling Pretty; and freshmen Meghan DeRubeis, Julianna DiMartino, Rebecca Ford, Erika Fronte, Molly Marottolo, Anna Mortali, and Cameron Ryan.