Warriors Girls’ Soccer Ready to Take Next Steps In Postseason Party
The Valley Regional girls’ soccer team crossed over the playoff threshold a campaign ago, and now, one year later, the Warriors are geared up and ready to go and delve deeper into the postseason push with an eclectic mix of seasoned and youthful talent across its roster.
A year ago, the Warriors finished 6-6-5 overall–good enough to qualify for state tournament action. On Nov. 8, the 25th-seeded Warriors faced No. 8 seed Watertown in a first-round states game and were edged out by the final score of 1-0.
Despite the early exit in the postseason, it is seen as a positive by Head Coach Lloyd Warren and the Warriors due to the fact that they can use it as a stepping stone to build upon towards increasing their stature in the Shoreline Conference and state rankings.
“The Shoreline Conference looks like it will be another very competitive season across all games, and we can’t wait to get started,” said Warren. “We are ready to improve on last year, with goals for the conference tournament and states.”
The stewards of the squad this fall for Valley will be housed within the midfield for its tandem of captains. Senior Emilee Surber returns for her fourth and final year of varsity play. Sophomore Madelyn Riebold is now a two-year varsity veteran, and both of them bring a great deal of heart, hustle, effort, and respect toward the sport and the team.
“Emilee is a midfield playmaker who can assist and score goals. Madelyn Riebold is a box midfielder with tremendous energy and quality,” Warren said. “She can break up the game and get forward and support with additional assists and goals. Both players lead by example. They both are year-round soccer players on established club teams. I feel very fortunate to be able to work with them both this year.”
Youth is the theme throughout the Valley roster for 2023. Still, the Warriors do have some experience on their side with returning players that include the likes of juniors Hannah Smith and Ella Smith, plus forward Peyton McIntyre.
“The team is very young this year,” said Warren. “We have rostered seven freshmen on our varsity roster with an expectation that they will have the opportunity to have serious minutes on the field. Some of our returning players include Hannah and Ella Smith, who bring us tremendous quality in wide areas. Also, Payton Mcintyre will have increased responsibility in the attack to find us goals this year. We believe we have a nicely balanced roster that will be ready to surprise teams with our playing ability and eagerness to compete at this level.”
The Warriors will grow as a group while traversing various terrains across the Shoreline that include the league’s reigning runner-up, Old Saybrook. Yet the club does not feign or show fright towards the challenge at hand, but it will rather face it head-on and utilize it as a teaching tool.
“Big matchups for us include local rivals Old Saybrook, who we play twice this year, and Old Lyme,” Warren said. “Both teams pose to be strong teams in our conference who always bring the best out in us.”
The Warriors got things off on quite the right foot by opening up the 2023 slate with a 6-0 blanking of North Branford/Hale-Ray on Sept. 8 at home.
Perhaps more importantly, in the bigger scope of the soccer landscape, the Warriors are producing off the pitch in order to garner more interest within the program throughout the youth circuit. It will all hope to prove prosperous for years to come by bolstering the future numbers at Valley.
“We will be hosting youth clinics for girls in our community twice this fall,” said Warren. “We are excited to continue to help build interest in the sport and work with girls who are just getting started on their soccer journey. We did this last year and saw over 50 players at our clinic. We are looking forward to building on that this year.”
Warren is back at the helm for his fifth campaign as head coach. He is assisted by Adam Traxler, who has now entered his third year as assistant coach.
The Warriors’ roster is comprised of senior Surber; juniors of Kendall Costello, Danna Lopez-Criollo, Delny Marsden; sophomores in Hannah Smith, Ella Smith, McIntyre, Riebold; plus freshmen with Makaylah Spencer, Elleigh Ortola, Sara Delouchry, Julianna Robinson, Anne Keck, Avery Soares, and Emma Reilly.
2023 Valley Regional Girls’ Soccer Regular Season Schedule
Sept. 7: Valley Regional 6, North Branford/Hale-Ray 0
Monday, Sept. 11: at East Hampton at 4 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 13: at Old Saybrook at 4 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 18: at Haddam-Killingworth at 3:45 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 20: at St. Paul Catholic at 4 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 21: vs. Portland at 6 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 23: vs. Fitch at 11 a.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 26: vs. Old Saybrook at 6 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 2: at Canton at 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 3: at Coginchaug at 3:45 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 5: vs. Old Lyme at 3:45 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 11: vs. Norwich Free Academy at 3:45 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 14: vs. Westbrook at 11 a.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 17: at Morgan at Indian River Complex at 6 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 19: vs. Cromwell at 6 p.m. (Senior Night)
Saturday, Oct. 21: at Montville at 10 a.m.