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10/21/2021 12:00 AM

Maher Rebounds from Injuries to Lead the Huskies

Taylor Maher came back after two separate ACL injuries to lead the Morgan girls’ soccer team as a senior captain. Photo courtesy of Taylor Maher

Taylor Maher grew up playing soccer in Clinton with many of the same people that she is now teammates with as a senior captain of the Morgan girls’ soccer squad. Taylor’s high school career has not been an easy road, though, as she missed both her sophomore and junior seasons due to two separate ACL injuries.

“I tore my first in the spring of freshman year playing with [the CT Rush], and it took about a year to get back, but then it was the middle of COVID, and I couldn’t really start playing,” says Taylor. “I had a few practices here and there with my Rush coaches and, in July 2020, I tore my other ACL. It was definitely hard to hear I wasn’t going to be playing junior year, as well.”

Instead of dwelling on what she was missing on the field, Taylor dedicated herself to helping her teammates when she was on the sidelines. While recuperating through physical therapy, Taylor continued to attend Morgan’s practices and games, encouraging her teammates and helping out wherever she could. Taylor’s leadership was rewarded when her teammates elected her as a captain for her senior season.

Head Coach Steve Sullivan knows that the Huskies made a great choice when they appointed Taylor to the captain’s chair. Taylor plays center midfielder for Coach Sullivan’s club.

“Taylor remained a very valuable asset to our coaching staff during those seasons by helping out in any way possible. She has returned to help lead our team to a very successful start with her abilities on the field and her leadership skills on and off the field,” Sullivan says. “It’s been a long journey for Taylor to get back on the field, but she certainly is showing how much she was missed.”

Now a senior captain, Taylor feels excited to be out there and leading the Huskies to success in the 2021 campaign. Morgan is undefeated with a record of 9-0-4 and has only allowed five goals for the entire season.

“Our defensive line is pretty well stacked back there, and our senior goalkeeper Angelina Comiskey is really stepping up and making the big saves in the big games,” says Taylor. “It’s definitely amazing to be back on the field with the teammates I’ve played with since I was younger. It’s exciting how well we’re doing and how I’m able to contribute more by being back on the field.”

Morgan recently tied unbeaten Cromwell for the second time this year and also defeated Class L school Waterford, a victory that Taylor says was “a big upset.” Entering the home stretch of the regular season, Taylor and her teammates are looking to remain at the top of the Shoreline Conference and earn a bye through the first round of the league tournament.

“Right now, our goals are to finish our league games and keep our ties down and stay up in the top,” Taylor says. “We haven’t talked much about states yet, because we’re more focused on Shorelines, but we’re 4th in [Class M] right now, so we’re trying to keep up our state ranking, as well.”

While she’s only been on the field with Morgan for two seasons, Taylor is no stranger to postseason play. Taylor saw significant time as a freshman with the Huskies, helping the team win the Shoreline Conference title and then advance to the state semifinals.

Taylor has also played soccer at the Premier level since she was eight years old, when she joined the CT Rush out of Guilford under Ed Green and Brian Perri, who were just starting the program. One of the highlights from Taylor’s career with the Rush was a trip to play in Italy.

While competing for the Rush, Taylor also continued playing in Clinton’s rec league and for the town’s travel team. Taylor also played basketball when she was in middle school. No matter what sport she’s playing, Taylor’s favorite thing about soccer is the friendships that she’s made with her teammates and the connections that she’s formed with her coaches. During her recovery from her ACL injuries, Taylor’s teammates, coaches, and family provided her with a strong support network.

Taylor feels thankful for the support of coaches Sullivan, Green, and Perri as well as her parents Heather and Greg. Taylor’s recovery process has inspired her to pursue physical therapy in college.

“My coaches kept me involved, made sure I could help my teammates, and helped me through the mental part of getting back into playing,” says Taylor, who assists with coaching youth soccer in Clinton. “My parents were there through the rough times, especially after surgery or when I needed more motivation in physical therapy to push through exercises, and just being there for me when I wasn’t able to do something I could do before.”

While she will miss putting on a Huskies’ jersey, Taylor still has plenty of time ahead of her on pitch after she graduates from Morgan. Taylor, who is ranked No. 6 in her class, will play for the Rush from November to July, after which she will continue her soccer career at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire.

Having missed two high school seasons, Taylor had some doubts about being able to play at the next level. However, one of Taylor’s coaches with the Rush, Brendan Faherty, connected her with the program at Franklin Pierce.

“It’s hard I only get one more year with Morgan, but I committed to play at Franklin Pierce, so it’s not the end,” Taylor says. “Coach Faherty gave the coach there a heads-up about what I could contribute to the team. It’s amazing he would do something like that.”

Taylor is now focusing on the Huskies’ goals for the remainder of the season. As a captain, Taylor is hoping to motivate her teammates just as much as they motivated her to overcome her injuries.

“When I was injured, I focused on my teammates and how excited they were for the season and that motivated me to get back sooner and quicker,” says Taylor. “I was surprised to be named captain, because I hadn’t played for past two years, but it feels really great. My teammates and coaches were excited to get me back on the field.”