Sports Person of the Week
Moulis Found Her Home in Goal
Senior Annalise Moulis started in net for the North Haven girls’ soccer squad this season and helped her team advance to the quarterfinals of the Class L State Tournament. (Photo courtesy of Annalise Moulis)
Whenever Annalise Moulis and her sister Gabriella played soccer in their backyard, Annalise was always the goalie. Annalise returned to the net in her sophomore year of high school and went on to become the starting varsity keeper for the North Haven girls’ soccer team as a senior.
Annalise watched her sister play soccer while growing up and wanted to be just like her. When their parents Mary and Ted got the sisters a small goal for the backyard, the pair spent hours outside playing. By playing soccer with her Gabriella, Annalise’s interest in the sport was piqued.
“My older sister was playing, so I followed behind her. I always wanted to follow my big sister and do everything she was doing when I was younger,” says Annalise. “It was really inspiring growing up with my sister and being able to play the same sport in the backyard. My parents got us a tiny goal, and we worked from there. I was a goalie then. I’d like to thank her for that.”
Annalise started playing soccer in North Haven’s recreational league when she was four. Annalise played there until she started competing for St. Rita’s in Hamden. Then, in 8th grade, Annalise spent a season with the North Haven Middle School team. At every step along the way, Annalise able to obtain valuable information, whether it was about how to direct a defense or her overall feel for the game.
In her 6th-grade season, Annalise moved from goalie to the midfield, where she played during her freshman year with North Haven’s JV team. Regardless of the position she was playing or what team she was playing with, Annalise felt excited to compete at the high school level and set her sights on becoming a strong all-around player.
“I didn’t really care if I was on JV or varsity. I just really liked the game and wanted to play and work on it,” Annalise says. “I never expected myself to be at the varsity level until I went into goal.”
In her sophomore season, Annalise stepped back into the net and started to see some varsity playing time. She began working with Tobias Esche, who is currently an assistant coach with the Quinnipiac University men’s soccer team. While she felt glad to be on the field in any capacity, Annalise knew that she was best suited to play her natural position as a goalkeeper.
“I didn’t really like playing the field as much. I didn’t have enough skill for that, and I wanted to go back. I thought my reaction skills were better. I just wanted to work on that for my last three years of playing soccer,” says Annalise. “I was doing training sessions, which is where my development came from. I just wanted to go back to old times.”
Annalise remained the varsity backup in her junior season, but got a few more starts than she had the previous year. Upon returning to the goal, Annalise felt excited about communicating with her teammates on the back end of the field. The support that Annalise received from her teammates made her transition to the varsity level that much easier.
In her senior year, following a three-year wait, Annalise finally got her opportunity to start in goal for North Haven. Annalise started most of the team’s games, while fellow senior Sophia Chagnon also got a few starts. In the end, Annalise suited up in goal when North Haven competed in the Class L State Tournament and helped the team reach the quarterfinals by winning its first two contests of the draw.
In addition to her own efforts, Annalise says that her senior year was made better by all of the hard work that her teammates put in to be successful.
“It was exciting to play my senior season, finally starting. I worked hard for it, and I finally got to start,” Annalise says. “The biggest difference was that our team was playing for each other, rather than ourselves. My teammates made the games and practices fun. We all really bonded over that.”
Up until her junior year, Annalise was also a member of North Haven girls’ basketball team. However, she decided to stop playing basketball in order to focus on soccer. By the time she was a senior, Annalise’s passion for soccer had skyrocketed, and the experience of playing with North Haven her teammates one final time made all of the hard work worth it.
“I’ve really improved. My passion as a freshman was basketball, but that kind of dwindled away. I just devoted myself to soccer and did all of these training sessions,” says Annalise. “My improvement really showed. Me and my teammates worked incredibly hard. I feel very lucky I could do that.”
From the backyard to the varsity field, Annalise found her home in goal on the soccer pitch. Annalise feels that her senior season was the perfect way to finish out her time playing sports in North Haven as she competed alongside a group of teammates who’ve become close both on and off the field.
“The North Haven soccer team was one true family this year. Everyone was included. Everyone became friends outside of the sport,” Annalise says. “It was amazing. No one felt left out. We all knew each other off the field.”