Friday, April 16, 2021

Sports

Morgan Made the Most of Season Fraught with Obstacles

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Senior captain Carley Schmidt and the Morgan girls’ soccer team turned in a 5-2-3 record this year. Schmidt earned All-Shoreline Conference First team honors, and the Huskies’ Most Valuable Player Award behind 10 goals and two assists.

File photo by Susan Lambert/Harbor News

Senior captain Carley Schmidt and the Morgan girls’ soccer team turned in a 5-2-3 record this year. Schmidt earned All-Shoreline Conference First team honors, and the Huskies’ Most Valuable Player Award behind 10 goals and two assists. (File photo by Susan Lambert/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)

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Senior captain Olivia Riccio was part of a stingy defensive unit that allowed only five goals on the season. Riccio earned All-Shoreline Conference First Team Recognition for her play this year. File photo by Susan Lambert/Harbor News

Senior captain Olivia Riccio was part of a stingy defensive unit that allowed only five goals on the season. Riccio earned All-Shoreline Conference First Team Recognition for her play this year. (File photo by Susan Lambert/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)

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Junior Taylor Maher is part of a junior class that will be stepping into leadership positions next season. File photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News

Junior Taylor Maher is part of a junior class that will be stepping into leadership positions next season. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)

The Morgan girls’ soccer squad put together a strong season despite a slew of challenges. The Huskies ended their campaign with a solid overall record of 5-2-3. Unfortunately, the Huskies were unable to take part in the postseason as The Morgan School had an uptick in positive COVID-19 tests and closed the school, which resulted in the cancellation of the remainder of the athletic season.

Despite the disappointing end to the Huskies’ 2020 campaign, Head Coach Steve Sullivan was incredibly proud of his squad, especially senior captains Catie Donadio, Olivia Riccio, and Carley Schmidt, as well as, their fellow seniors.

“I can’t say enough about the captains and my senior class. This happened to be a year that I impressed upon the seniors I wanted them to take a leadership role—not that I don’t do that every year. They really did it. It was a responsible group of seniors. They made sure everyone followed the protocols,” said Sullivan. “Every day, each team cohort had to enter from a different area of the field and remain separated. The captains oversaw the whole thing, the whole team. I couldn’t be more proud of how they handled everything. We talked about our responsibility, and our kids really wanted to make sure the seniors had their season.”

Morgan’s senior captains were also responsible for leading different contingents on the field in that Donadio played the midfield, Schmidt was up top at forward, and Riccio patrolled the backfield on defense.

Donadio is a talented athlete, and even though basketball is her primary sport, she was no slouch on the soccer pitch. Donadio was effective at getting the ball where it needed to be and on time.

“Catie had a great year, as always. She is more of a distributor, but she’s also one of those players that will get you important goal at the right time,” said Sullivan. “She plays well in the big moments. I trust her on the outside midfield because she can get up on offense and get back on defense.”

Schmidt proved to be the Huskies most effective offensive threat, scoring 10 goals and dishing two assists. Schmidt earned All-Shoreline Conference First Team recognition and Morgan’s Most Valuable Player Award for her offensive prowess. While her offensive skills were impressive, Coach Sullivan also leaned on Schmidt’s versatility.

“Carley predominantly plays at forward, but there were times that I would move her back into the central midfield to get someone else in up top,” Sullivan said. “Carley handled both positions very well, and she was our top scorer.”

Meanwhile, in the backfield, Riccio helmed a staunch defensive unit that allowed only a handful of goals on the season. Riccio played a heavy hand in the Huskies’ defensive successes this year, and she also earned All-Shoreline Conference First Team honors.

“Olivia was central to our defense. Out of the 10 games that we played this year, we only gave up five goals, and that was in just three games. We had seven shutouts. A lot of that was Olivia Riccio,” said Sullivan. “The whole defensive back line was just phenomenal. A lot of the communication back there came from Olivia. She organized everything in the back.”

Senior goalie Emma Lindsay also played a big part in the Huskies’ stingy defense. While the defensive unit played a big part in Morgan’s seven shutouts, Lindsay made numerous quality stops in the net, and she earned All-Shoreline Conference Honorable Mention for her play.

“Emma’s worked really hard at her position for four years, and she’s improved tremendously. She was definitely one of the highlights this year,” Sullivan said. “Emma is a great communicator also. Between her and Olivia, they did a tremendous job keeping kids where they needed to be.”

Senior midfielder Genna Rauccio was another Morgan player who earned some league recognition for her quality play. Rauccio claimed All-Shoreline Conference Second Team honors roaming the midfield for the Huskies behind two goals and four assists on the season.

“Genna also plays an outside midfield position, but she’s really a jack of all trades. Her biggest asset is her work ethic. She’s got great speed, and she’s just non-stop,” said Sullivan. “She’s the type of kid that works so very hard. We try as much as possible to play a high line to put pressure on opposing teams, and she was a big part in why we were able to that. She was just outstanding in doing that.”

Senior defender Maddie Corgan proved to be a relentless competitor and a class act over the course of her four-year career. Corgan was recognized for her effort with Morgan’s Sportsmanship Award.

“Maddie was deserving of that award. I can’t remember taking her out of a game at all this year,” Sullivan said. “She played outside back, and she’s just a very hardworking athlete. She plays the game the right way. She plays fair, but she plays tough.”

Senior midfielder Clara Franzoni also played a big part in the Huskies’ solid defensive play this year, even though she wasn’t relegated specifically to the backfield.

“Clara started every game for us this year. She was more of a defensive midfielder depending on who else I had in the midfield with her,” said Sullivan. “We started with a different formation than other years, and she was more involved defensively. She was another one of those senior leaders for us this year. She’s a tremendous kid that really took that role to heart.”

Also rounding out the senior class were defender Selena Ortiz and midfielder Leah Burdick. Like many of their classmates, Ortiz and Burdick were dependable and could be counted on to play clean soccer with few errors.

“Selena’s always been a kid that I can trust, and it’s amazing how rarely she’ll make a mistake. Her decision-making has always impressed me. She’s an intelligent kid that makes intelligent decisions,” Sullivan said. “Leah’s another one of those kids you can always depend on as far as moving forward and getting back. She’s a really strong-willed kid that gave us a lot of quality minutes at outside midfielder.”

With so many graduating seniors, the Huskies will have their work cut out next year in filling some of the roles that the strong senior class did. Coach Sullivan believes his team will rise to the occasion. Juniors like Jessica Flanagan and Taylor Maher and sophomores like Caely Ayer, Katie Martin, and Emily Smith already have solid minutes under their belts. The future looks to be in good hands, according to Coach Sullivan.

“The junior class is pretty small, but Jessie Flanagan saw a lot of playing time this year. The sophomore class is very talented, like Caely was our first person off the bench, and Katie Martin and Emily Smith would start games for us,” said Sullivan. “We had 34 kids this year, and I think we’ll be right around that same number next year. I expect all of the juniors and sophomores to play a major role. I’m also super excited about our freshman class. There are some talented players there that unfortunately we had to put on JV because we couldn’t mix them together.”

Though this season contained disappointment and challenges, Sullivan thought there were plenty of bright spots, too.

“I think the fact that the kids stayed so united through all of this was great. That goes back to the captains and the seniors for always bringing a positive attitude to the field,” Sullivan said. “I was just so proud of all the kids and how they handled everything. These kids just re-energized me. It was a difficult season, but it was a great season.”



Chris Negrini is the Assistant Sports Editor for Zip06. Email Chris at c.negrini@shorepublishing.com.

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