Susi Was the ‘Heart and Soul’ of Westbrook’s Defense
When Sadie Susi was in 3rd grade, she began playing soccer in Westbrook. Sadie has been on the soccer pitch ever since, competing alongside many of the same teammates that she started playing with as a youngster.
Sadie recently finished her career as a member of the Westbrook girls’ soccer team. After attending Woodstock Academy in her junior year, Sadie returned to the Knights for her senior season and earned All-Shoreline Conference honors this fall.
“What has kept me playing soccer is not only a passion for the sport on and off the field, but also the connections I have made within my team and other teams that form after years of playing against each other,” Sadie says. “What I love about soccer is when it is a physical game and comes down to two competitors, both digging into whatever strength they have left in the game to make a difference for their team.”
Sadie has anchored the defensive line for most of her soccer career, suiting up at the center back position. Sadie loves that playing defense allows her to have a major leadership role on the field.
Sadie’s defensive efforts helped her garner All-Shoreline Conference Second Team accolades for a Westbrook squad that finished its fall season strong. Sadie considers making the All-Shoreline Team one of the highlights of her career, especially since it’s a goal that she had been working toward for several years.
“I love feeling that self-gratifying moment when you stop a shot on goal or a play from progressing down the field,” says Sadie. “When I found out [about making All-Conference], I was immediately ecstatic and overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation for this honor.”
Another personal goal that Sadie set for herself entering high school was to score a goal. Sadie got her opportunity when the defender netted a score for Westbrook off a corner kick in a win over North Branford.
“I can still remember the surprise and excitement I was feeling when I saw the ball snap against the back of the net,” Sadie says. “This moment stands out because not only was the game competitive where both sides were a close match, but it took so long to achieve this goal, and it made the moment just that more special when I did achieve it.”
Caitlin Rickaby took over as one of two new head coaches for the Westbrook girls’ soccer team this season. Rickaby not only saw Sadie’s contributions as a defensive stalwart, but also as a strong leader for the Knights.
“Sadie was the heart and soul of our defense. We cannot imagine how many goals would have been scored without her back there this year,” says Rickaby, who coached the team with Brittany Cusano. “Sadie was such a positive athlete in so many aspects. She could be seen throughout the season cheering on and supporting her teammates, both during practices and games, and she volunteered to help the coaches with various tasks throughout the season.”
With several of her personal goals checked off, the end of Sadie’s time playing soccer for Westbrook High School was bittersweet. While the team didn’t win as many games as she would have liked, Sadie saw the Knights make constant improvements and pick up some wins in the home stretch of a season that she’ll never forget.
“Between the relief and gratitude that we did have a season and the connections I was able to create with my teammates, it just made this season a lot of fun,” Sadie says. “It was definitely a bittersweet feeling, because I have been playing with these girls for around 10 years, and it was hard closing that chapter of my life, but I felt like we ended the season in a really good place, and it was a good way to finish my high school soccer career. I am going to miss just being on the field every day, seeing my teammates, and having that opportunity to not worry about anything else and just play soccer.”
Although Sadie’s high school soccer career has come to a close, she still has two more seasons of competition in a Westbrook uniform. Sadie is in the midst of preparing for her senior campaign with the Westbrook girls’ basketball team and will then play tennis for the Knights during the spring.
Sadie has been playing basketball for as long as she’s played soccer. She enjoys the fast pace of the game that allows her to contribute on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor.
Sadie picked up tennis in her freshman year and, after playing golf at Woodstock Academy last spring, she feels excited about returning to the tennis court as a senior. Heading into her final two seasons of athletics at Westbrook, Sadie is striving to contribute as much as possible for both the tennis and basketball squads.
“My goals are to improve my skill in both sports and make each season memorable,” says Sadie. “It’s my last seasons playing them in high school.”