A Profile in Excellence: Olivia Morrison, THS girls soccer.
Olivia Morrison of the Torrington girls soccer team, is a three-sport, student athlete in every sense of the words. You want drive and dedication? Dial up Morrison on th pitch, the hardwood or the track.
TORRINGTON: When a coach uses a hockey term to describe your toughness on the pitch, it can’t be a bad thing.
So when Torrington girls soccer coach Mario Longobucco describes senior Olivia Morrison as “The Plumber”, it’s a significant sign of respect.
“She will do anything we need her to do out there,” Longobucco said. “She is a hard, hard worker who plays everywhere. If I need offense she comes up, if we need defense she goes back.”
The Raiders are winding down their regular season with just five games to play and sport a 7-3-1 record, good for third place overall in the Naugatuck Valley League.
Don’t let the mild mannered external temperament fool you, this upperclassmen has a burning desire to compete and if you doubt it, get in her way.
“She just wants to win,” Longobucco said. “You see her drive on the basketball court as well. She kind of reminds me of Aly Otis (former Raider standout) in that way. She will run through a brick wall for you, she works hard underneath the basket, she’s just a tough, tough kid.”
To date her soccer teams have posted a 39-17-4 record in three plus seasons, the best back in 2010 when Torrington set the record for program wins with a 13-1-1 mark.
During her freshman and sophomore years, Morrison saw players like Sarah Royals and Otis work hard every second they were on the pitch.
“I looked up to them because they both gave 110 percent all the time,” Morrison said. “Even in practice.”
On the hardwood, the teams she has been on have had even more impressive numbers with a 52-8 mark over the first three years of her career.
This year, Morrison will be counted on in a big way for head coach Mike Fritch Sr. but let’s stick with soccer for now.
The Raiders have more work to do and its starts Friday when Naugatuck comes to town for a 3:30 p.m. start.
Naugy is right on the heels of Torrington with a 6-4 record and are always a tough out for the Raiders.
“They will definitely be out for blood,” Morrison said. “They didn’t expect us to go down there earlier in the year and beat them on their home field (a 1-0 Raider win on September 25).”
Next week is a busy one with three games, two at home, one an out of conference match up against SWC standout New Milford (7-3-1), on the road at Holy Cross (6-5) and back home on Friday against Sacred Heart (0-11).
The Crusaders come to Torrington the last game of the year and Morrison always expects something to happen when these rivals clash.
“They always bring the fight to us, no matter what their record is,” Morrison said. “We’ll have to be ready and play our best.”
Being a three-sport student/athlete is never an easy thing but the best do it.
Morrison holds an 89 average which puts her in the honor territory and she is a member of the National Social Studies Honor Society as well.
She was named Most Valuable Player on her soccer team during her sophomore year and a year ago made the All-Copper team in the NVL.
She may be a three-sport girl but her heart belongs on the pitch, the place she feels the most comfortable.
“I’ve been playing soccer almost my entire life,” Morrison said. “My brother (Jeff, who played at AIC in college) and my whole family loves the game. I feel soccer connects with me.”
Her ability to know where to be and what needs to be done comes from that deeper understanding of the game she loves.
It also is what allows Longobucco the luxury of moving her around as much as he does.
When basketball rolls around after Thanksgiving, Morrison will be one of the key returning players for Fritch, along with Caroline Teti and Paige Middleton.
The three of them where part of the group a year ago that finally broke through and won the Naugatuck Valley League Tournament after years of being frustrated in the finals.
That 2012 team may not have been the most talented but they had something else; determination.
“One of the things I learned during my freshman and sophomore years was to keep pushing,” Morrison said. “During those last couple of minutes we just kept playing hard and something good happened. It was a big relief to final win the big one.”
Morrison played softball her first two years at THS before switching to track last season. She’s a long jumper and triple jumper by trade and enjoyed both the team and individual aspect of what track has to offer.
What’s the game plan for next September?
“I want to go to college and play soccer,” Morrison said. “I’ve looked at a Division II school and three Division III schools so far. I’d rather play on a D-II or D-III than sit on the bench at a D-I.”
Whatever the mission, whatever the goal, count on Morrison to be all-in every step of the way, it’s all she knows.
“If you had a whole team of her you couldn’t help but be successful,” summed up Longobucco.