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12/04/2021 11:00 PM

Warriors Enjoy Super Season in McCabe Powers’s Final Campaign

Senior captain Abby Amara was named the Shoreline Conference Player of the Year after helping the Valley Regional field hockey team notch 17 victories during its final season with Beth McCabe Powers as the program’s head coach. File photo by Wesley Bunnell/The Courier

If there was one way that Beth McCabe Powers wanted to end her tenure as head coach of the Valley Regional field hockey program, it was with the team that she had in 2021. The Warriors finished with an overall record of 17-2-1 for a season that saw McCabe Powers get selected as the CIAC Class S Coach of the Year.

McCabe Powers recently completed her 16th year as Valley’s head coach. This marked McCabe Powers’s final season with the Warriors, and she’s going out on a great note after seeing her team post a regular-season record of 15-0-1 and then advance to the Shoreline Conference final and the Class S state quarterfinals.

“It’s nice to see years of hard work acknowledged by your peer coaches in a formal way,” McCabe Powers said of her Coach of the Year distinction. “As a whole, the season went quite well. Goals were accomplished, and to be undefeated at the end of the regular season is a grand accomplishment.”

Senior captain forward Abby Amara was at the forefront of Valley’s attack all season long. Amara ended the season with 20 goals and 13 assists, both of which were team bests for the Warriors. In addition to earning All-Shoreline Conference First Team honors, Amara was selected as the Shoreline Conference Player of the Year for her contributions to Valley’s prolific offense.

“Abby’s skill for passing and ball handling set up a ton of scoring,” said McCabe Powers. “We definitely scored more goals this year than any other year that I coached. It was a year of great team effort, with very talented juniors and seniors.”

Valley was also led by senior captains Grace Haskins, Brooke Lavigne, Margaret Jacaruso, and Reagan Fergueson this season. Lavigne had six goals and three assists on her way to making the All-Shoreline Conference First Team. Jacaruso scored five goals to go with five assists and was an All-Shoreline Conference Second Team honoree. Haskins had a goal with an assist for Coach McCabe Powers’s squad.

“They all certainly contributed to the success of the season. They are all are exceptionally skilled and all were pieces to the larger puzzle, which culminated in the success that we had,” McCabe Powers said. “Their on-and-off-field leadership skills were fantastic and helped keep the team on track and all going in a positive direction. I personally have a great relationship with each of them. I appreciate all the hard work and celebrate what each brings every day.”

Valley’s senior class also featured Ellie Rybicki-Domler, Caroline Haskins, Mia Alio, Paige Lombardi, Emily Kateley, and Chelsea Wadle. Alio earned a spot on the All-Shoreline Conference First Team, and Kateley made the All-Shoreline Conference Second Team on behalf of the Warriors.

“There were so many standouts this season,” said McCabe Powers. “The seniors were all terrific and worked very hard.”

Junior goalkeeper Fallyn Belisle was an All-Shoreline Conference First Team selection for Valley this year. The Warriors’ junior corps also included Lily Grow, Callie Breitenbach, Madeline Rice, Samantha Brookhart-Bardelli, Ashley Cap, Mykenzie Parker, Allison Safran, Samara Shankar, and Isabella Siegel.

Valley’s sophomore class featured Madeline Siegel, Clara Shea, Abby Reardon, and Charlotte Jacobson.

Freshman Lilly Lavigne made the All-Shoreline Conference Second Team for Valley. The Warriors’ freshman class also included Laura Gessner, Charlotte Kronholm, Alessia Pisanzio, and Lucy Resnisky.

One of Coach McCabe Powers’ favorite moments from the 2021 season came during Valley’s first game of the year against North Branford. The Warriors hosted North Branford on Sept. 10 and came away with a 1-0 victory, giving McCabe Powers her first win versus the Thunderbirds as Valley’s head coach.

“That was the first time we ever beat North Branford in my career,” McCabe Powers said. “It’s taken a long time to build the program at Valley. They do not have a proper middle school program, so it took years of hard work to get to where we are now.”

Stepping away from the sport that she loves won’t be easy for McCabe Powers. She knows that she’s going to miss the relationships that she’s built with her players and fellow coaches.

“I will definitely miss the players the most,” said McCabe Powers. “I like strategically planning for games, and I will also miss that. I will also very much miss coaching with [Assistant Coach Randy Netsch]. Over many years, we have become good friends. I will miss chatting every day in the fall.”

In her 16 years at Valley, McCabe Powers always tried enjoy all of the little moments throughout a long and strenuous season. McCabe Powers feels proud of the Warriors for making her final campaign with the program one that she will never forget.

“It’s tough, but I think the grind of a very successful season can be stressful for everyone,” McCabe Powers said. “I knew when we won the first game, we were off to a very successful start. We also knew that if we remained injury free, it would be a good season.”

Senior captain Brooke Lavigne was an All-Shoreline Conference First Team honoree for the Valley field hockey squad in 2021. File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier
Senior captain Margaret Jacaruso earned a spot on the All-Shoreline Conference Second Team while helping the Warriors reach the Shoreline Conference final and the state quarterfinals this fall. File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier