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Junior Kaitlyn Parri and the Haddam-Killingworth girls’ soccer squad qualified for states by earning a 2-2 tie with East Hampton on Sept. 30. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Source | Buy This Photo)
Sophomore Yumi Imai netted a goal when the Cougars battled East Hampton to a 2-2 draw last week. Imai had a goal with an assist when H-K defeated Hale-Ray by a 6-0 score later in the week. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Source | Buy This Photo)
Senior Ashley Duncanson and the H-K girls’ soccer squad are having a great season and currently own a record of 7-3-1. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Source | Buy This Photo)
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The Haddam-Killingworth girls’ soccer team is on its way to Class M State Tournament. The Cougars qualified for states after coming away with a tie, a win, and a loss in last week’s matchups.
The Cougars started off their week by battling East Hampton to a 2-2 draw in a home game on Sept. 30, making states in the process. Then on Oct. 4, H-K earned a 6-0 victory at Hale-Ray. In its final game of the week, H-K took a 1-0 loss at Cromwell on Oct. 5. Head Coach Mike Shea’s club has a record of 7-3-1 on the year.
“I’m not overly surprised at our record. This is a good group of girls. They’ve already developed a winning attitude,” Coach Shea said. “It’s all about being positive. That’s our theme for the season. If a negative occurs, either on the practice field or in a game, we make sure to fix it right away.”
Through their first 11 games, the Cougars have outscored their opponents by a 36-15 differential. H-K is seeing success on the strength of solid performances from its two goalkeepers, along with flexible and controlled play in the midfield, plus a crop of forwards who can put the ball in the net.
The Cougars are led up top by junior Kedarjah Lewis, who has a team-leading 11 goals to go with four assists on the year. Sophomore Yumi Imai has seven goals and two assists, while fellow sophomore Scarlett Strom has scored a pair of goals.
Junior Kaitlyn Parri is H-K’s top midfielder and a great playmaker with 15 assists to her credit this season. Parri leads the team as a co-captain with senior Ashley Duncanson, a center back.
“Both of these kids strive every day to make sure that we’re living up to what we believe in: having a positive attitude,” said Shea.
Junior Autumn Walton and Morgan Madore are also playing well in the midfield. Walton has six goals with three assists, and Madore has five goals and six assists.
“Morgan and Autumn are like interchangeable parts. I can flip-flop them if I like,” Coach Shea said. “It’s a huge help in defending in the middle against any team.”
Shea has numerous players that he can rely upon on defense, including Duncanson and fellow senior Rebecca Fisher. Lending support along the back line are juniors Sophia Gromala, Mia Rubino, Leah Sosnowski, and Makiya Laurenza. Freshman Leah Chester is an up-and-coming player for Coach Shea’s club.
“Leah has not only played in the back, but she can be moved up into the midfield, as well,” said Shea. “She shows unusual leadership qualities for a freshman.”
Coach Shea also feels pleased that he has two goalkeepers of equal ability manning the net this year. Junior Kelsey Lonergan and sophomore Sophia Torello are both seeing time in goal for the Cougars. Torello has played in 11 games and only allowed one goal per game, while making 73 saves. In her three starts, Lonergan has given up just four goals and turned aside 17 shots. Lonergan has two shutouts on the campaign, and Torello has recorded one shutout.
In last week’s game against East Hampton, Walton and Imai both scored a goal for H-K to help the Cougars earn a 2-2 draw with the Bellringers and qualify for states. Torello made eight saves in net.
For the Hale-Ray game, Lewis and sophomore Hadley Commerford netted two goals apiece, Imai had a goal and an assist, and Walton also scored a goal for H-K. Parri handed out a pair of assists, while Madore and junior Morgan Schultz each had an assist for the Cougars in their 6-0 victory. Lonergan made five saves to notch the shutout.
Torello had 16 saves for H-K in the team’s 1-0 loss to Cromwell.
Prior to last week’s action, the Cougars posted victories over Parish Hill (6-3), North Branford (5-1), Valley Regional (6-3), Coginchaug (5-0), Capital Prep (5-0), and East Hampton (5-1) this season. Coach Shea said that H-K got a big boost of confidence after earning its win versus Valley Regional back on Sept. 23. With his team having recently solidified its spot in states, Shea is looking for the Cougars to make some waves in the playoffs in 2019.
“The State Tournament is in our thoughts. Doing well in the Shoreline Conference playoffs is a strong consideration,” Shea said. “None of these kids have had a chance to play in the postseason. After our win over Valley Regional, it began to sink in that we can play with anyone.”
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