Short Handed Torrington Girls Soccer looks to get back to the States in 2016.
TORRINGTON: Torrington girls’ soccer coach Mario Longobucco isn’t going to kid you about the challenges his team is going to face this season.
“We continue to struggle with numbers with 17 team members,” Longobucco said. “Including two upperclassmen who have never played the game and two freshman who need more time to develop.”
The Raiders are coming off a tough two year stretch that has seen them miss the state tournament with 4-12 and 5-10-1 marks the past two seasons respectively.
Questions continue to be asked about where the future of girls’ soccer is going as these numbers have been spiraling down over the past five season.
Only 17 girls will be on the Raiders roster and with the newcomers mentioned above, it will make extended minutes for the players who do have experience at this or any level.
“Any sort of injury will cause us to move a lot of people around in the line-up which would not help,” Longobucco said.
Torrington will need to get consistent offense from the two senior captains, Ali Bottari (forward/mid-field) and Alexis Tyrrell (forward) while hoping others, like sophomore Kristina Michaud (forward) can fill in the blanks.
Getting off to good starts on the scoreboard could be key for the Raiders as stamina may come into play as the minutes add up each game with limited substitutions available to Longobucco.
Erica Morrison, a senior, will mind the net for Torrington and what she lacks in experience, she makes up in other ways.
“Morrison doesn’t have the experience,” Longobucco said. “But she is fearless and very willing to learn which is have the battle. We will really need to play solid defense in front of her and learn to win some low scoring, tight games.”
Junior Shannon Reardon (back) will be one of those players that will be counted on to help her keeper stay out of trouble.
Junior Cassie Fedor (mid-fielder) is another key piece of the puzzle for the Raiders.
This year’s objective is a pretty simple one. Get back to the post season.
“We haven’t qualified for the NVL or State Tournaments for the past two seasons,” Longobucco said. “That is our goal. It is attainable, but things have to break our way and we cannot have any injuries. No one is going to feel bad for us and we can’t afford to sit around and feel bad for ourselves.”
The Iron Division, where the Raiders sit, has some talent back this year.
“Woodland, Watertown, Wolcott and Naugatuck figure to be the top teams in the top teams in the league this year,” Longobucco said. “Unfortunately for us, three of them are in the Iron with us. We are going to have to give it our all.”
Opening Day is this Friday at 3:45 when the Raiders host Naugatuck at the Robert H Frost Complex at Torrington High School.