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Raider girls soccer celebrates nine remarkable seniors.

POSTED November 25, 2014
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

TORRINGTON: It’s a rite of passage, these end of season banquets.

It’s a chance for young people to say thanks to teammates, coaches and friends as they prepare to move on to the next stage of their lives.

On Sunday night, the Torrington girls’ soccer team said goodbye to nine seniors who had posted a 31-29-4 mark during their four years together, but this night is never about records or titles.

It’s about the lessons learned over a high school career that, as each young lady spoke to, goes by in a flash.

Tori Flowers, Emily Manchester, Taylor Howe, Abbi Fisher, Lindsay Trobel, Kendra Covington, Paige Middleton. Courtney Dell’Agnese and Peyton Smith (unable to attend) were honored at P-Sam’s in Torrington, a night they will never forget.

Getting up and talking about ones very important years, in front of a crowd of about 50, is not easy for anyone, least of all players who are used to letting their play do the talking on the field.

This Raider class made the State Tournament three of the four years they played, this past year was a rough one for the group as they posted a 5-10-1 record in the brutal Iron Division of the Naugatuck Valley League.

They made an appearance in the NVL each of the four years and made it to the finals once and the semi-finals twice.

“While the season didn’t go our way,” head coach Mario Longobucco said, “I saw a lot of team unity this season, something that doesn’t always happen.”

Key losses to Naugatuck and St Paul prevented the Raiders from qualifying for the States for the first time in Longobucco’s five year tenure but he gave them a new field to play on, something several players thanked him for.

This team scored the first goal on the brand new turf field in early October after their coach put in nearly seven years working to get the project completed.

The Raiders also said goodbye to a man who had coached the freshman and junior varsity teams for a decade and is a favorite to any who have the pleasure of running into him.

Art Richardson will step away after this season and even after taking a fall earlier in the day on Sunday, Coach Rich was on hand.

Richardson coached for the love of the game and the players he teaches in the classroom and continues the lessons on the field both in soccer and baseball where he coaches the freshman and JV as well.

“I loved coaching each of you,” Richardson said. “It has been my pleasure.”

As nice a guy as you will ever meet, Richardson will be missed on the sidelines.

The number of life lessons learned while playing high school sports is hard to count but there are many.

Being part of a team, a family. These young people develop bonds on these teams that will last a lifetime and each understood that as they spoke with a significant poise that was well ahead of their calendar years.

Covington was named to the All-Iron team for her efforts in controlling the sweeper position, a role that she got better and better at as the year went on.

The Dell’Agnese family, whose daughter Courtney was honored, presented Longobucco and each senior a framed collogue that will be a permanent reminder of their time as Raiders at Torrington High School.

A talented and poised group that didn’t cry a lot. A win in my book any day. Congrats.   

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