Girls soccer preview: Work ethic a plus for Wilton
Between graduations and injuries, the Wilton High girls soccer team has lost six starters from last season.
But head coach Renato Topalli still likes what he sees.
“It’s a hard-working group with good chemistry,” said Topalli, whose team went 10-8-1 last year, losing to Newtown in the second round of the Class LL state tournament. “It’s a group that has experience and can grind games out, which you need to do in the FCIAC.”
Among the graduation losses were goalie Taylor Floyd, defender Chloe Zimmerman, midfielder Zoe Lash, and forwards Paisley Eagan and Andrea Benalcazar. Sophie Sudano, who started in midfield as a sophomore last season, is out for the year with an injury.
“We are going to miss Sophie and the other starters who graduated,” said Topalli. “But most teams in the conference have lost some key players.”
Two of Wilton’s mainstays will be senior forward Lindsay Groves and senior defender Grace Rava, who are captains along with classmate Isabella King (sidelined for a second straight season due to injury) and Sudano. Groves, who will play at Boston College, is a proven goal scorer, while Rava will lead the backline.
Sophomore Libby Connolly and senior Ally Dejana (who returns following a year playing Academy soccer) should help Groves up front.
Midfield options include juniors Olivia Gladstein, Olivia Vitarelli, Francesca Goncalves, and Sara Schneidman, and sophomores Ashley Carbonier, Maddie Wecker, Shelby Dejana, Sophie Peterson, and Kira Howard.
Looking to join Rava on the backline are seniors Delia Freliech, Olivia Borden, and Alexandra Brichkowski; juniors Bianca Reuter and Caroline Hess; and sophomores Piper Chase and Janet Johnson.
Three players — senior Kaitlin Reif, junior Zara Wiest and freshman Erynn Floyd — are vying to take over as the starting goalie. Reif is converted midfielder, and Floyd is the younger sister of last year’s keeper, Taylor Floyd.
“We should be strong in the back, and I think we can score some goals,” said Topalli. “It’s just a matter of getting the new players accustomed to their roles and the pace of play.”
Notes: Wilton opens the season on Friday (Sept. 7) at home against New Canaan. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.