Meet Litchfield soccer ace Christine Orsini, their all time leading goal scorer.
LITCHFIELD – She has been called `shy’ and quietly reserved by those who know her. Christina Orsini considers those descriptions pretty accurate. “I’m shy unless I’m pretty close to someone. I don’t like putting myself out there with new people. “
So, you are probably not going to see Orsini taking the lead in a school play or dominating the Karaoke caravan with a solo rendition of `Alleluia’ or AC/DC’s Highway to Hell.” But put the Litchfield High School soccer star on the pitch, well, there has been nothing shy or reserved about her game.
Orsini recently concluded a take-notice and historic career, playing a major role in the Cowgirls advancement to the Class S semifinals before a 3-1 loss to eventual state champion Holy Cross at a frosty Veteran’s Field in Naugatuck.
Along the four-year ride there was this – All-State and All-Berkshire League accolades and a girls school record of 75 goals that included 24 goals as a senior, 22 as a junior and 20 as a sophomore. Orsini graduates as the school’s second all-time leading scorer just three goals behind junior Timmy Donovan.
So how does the shy, reserved kid morph into the dominating presence between the goal cages? It’s all about comfort fueled by confidence.
“Soccer is different, it’s something I’ve enjoyed for years,” said Orsini. “I’m not embarrassed to be in the spotlight. It’s one thing I feel confident about. Even with school I’m not the best in the class or anything. On the soccer field I feel the most comfortable.”
Still, after a career of accomplishment Orsini needed some verification and validation of her prowess and it came in the loss to Holy Cross where she scored the Cowgirls lone goal.
“It was my last game and it was stepping out of the Berkshire League,” said Orsini. “I proved to myself I can play against another league.”
Orsini’s journey to be a force on the field probably doesn’t follow the normal recipe for stardom. Nothing was ordained or expected here. Her counterpart on the boys side Donovan was outgoing and passionate, beating up his barn darn with frequent shot barrages and practicing on the green in Milton, Orsini was the shy persona who didn’t want to play. While Donovan was trying to become the perfect goal scorer, Orsini was on the other side of the ball.
“I was a little late, I didn’t want to play and had never tried it,” said Orsini. “I wasn’t outgoing. I ended up meeting a friend whose dad coached and he signed my up to play. I started out on defense but always tried to score goals. The older I got, we started winning and I was scoring a lot of goals.”
Nobody knows Orsini better and helped her game reach such lofty heights than her AAU coach Dave Shannon. He has coached Orsini since she was 9-years old and played on his travel team which eventually became Premier level club. The defensive slant to her game quickly got buried.
“Christina was and is a gifted athlete with tremendous speed,” said Shannon. “She is very composed in front of the goal and can score with either foot.”
Litchfield High coach Mike Wilson witnessed the same attributes.
“Christina is a true forward, a goal scorer,” said Wilson. “She has played in the off-season to keep her skills fresh and just has a nose for the ball. She has good speed and a really hard shot.”
Orsini’s nature didn’t lend itself to seeing what could be and what eventually was like her coaches saw. It took until her sophomore year to convince her she could be really special on the field.
“My goal scoring (20 goals) made a difference,” Orsini remembers. “People were more willing to pass to me and look at me to be a leader. Just from practice, I knew my potential. I didn’t score to be in the spotlight, it was about having chances and my team believing in me.”
The rise of Litchfield’s program to a Class S title contender has benefitted from Orsini’s talents but also her passion to be one of many not one out of many.
“Our group of Tina (Orsini), Ali Davenport and Fran Luzzi on offense has played together since they were little nippers,” said Wilson. “A big part of our success and all of their success is their amazing chemistry.”
Orsini particularly points to Davenport who she has played with forever as a special ingredient to all of the success.
“We know where each other is going to be and what they are going to do,” said Orsini. “Most of the time the one who has passed to me for goals is Ali. We just know one another.”
Shannon notes that Orsini’s world on the field has always been bigger than just her and scoring goals.
“Christina makes everyone around her better and has always been a very unselfish player which makes her goal scoring record even more impressive,” said Shannon.
A further testament to both Orsini’s unassuming nature and team orientation has been her willingness to `stay home’ on the Premier level.
“There have been times that I have urged Christina to leave for a higher level Premier level team but she has always been adamant that wants to play with her Litchfield High teammates and those friends she has made through the team that played on area high school teams.”
What does the future hold for Orsini? Nothing fixed at this point. There are colleges interested such as Albertus Magnus in New Haven, Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Mass. and Mississippi Valley to name a few. Somebody will benefit from a pair of record scoring feet and a team-oriented player.
What is fixed are Orsini’s Litchfield High playing days. It is the story of a shy kid who in the beginning didn’t want to play soccer and when she did started out on defense and in the end became the greatest scorer in Litchfield High girls soccer history.
“Christina is an awesome, great all-around kid who knew her job on the field and went out and did it,” said Wilson. “She leaves a legacy of hard work and goals that will be hard to beat.”
Orsini feels like she has given future players something to shoot for.
“For players coming up they have something to work for and they know if they do it, they will get recognized,” said Orsini.
Hey future Litchfield players, you are all chasing Christina Orsini. If you catch her, congratulations because she has been something special.