Girls’ Varsity Soccer Making History

 

Article: Kaitlyn Suller ’22 | Photos: Mrs. Carty P’22 

 

Entering as the fifth seed in the league, the Suffield Academy Girls Soccer won the NEPSAC Class B tournament for the first time in 35 years, finishing the year off with a record of 12-5-2. This past fall season was filled with ups and downs, including tough losses (Hotchkiss, Porters, and Worcester Academy) and thrilling wins (Taft School, Loomis Chafee, and our rival Williston) against top A-Schools. Throughout these fluctuations and despite the uncertainties of their qualifications after tying with Pomfret and losing to Berkshire, the girls remained focused on the goal: making the tournament. Nothing was going to stop them as the girls continued to power through and play their hearts out, deserving a chance in the tournament.

The quarterfinal game was against Rivers, who in 2019 beat Suffield in penalty kicks during the semi-finals. The team returned with revenge on their minds. The Rivers fought hard, but with 24 minutes left in the game, sophomore Nadja Meite dribbled past two defenders into the box and was pushed down, giving Suffield a penalty. Senior Captain Lauren Carey stepped up to take the kick, placing the ball in the lower left side of the net. Suffield was up 1-0, winning the game.

Next up was against the 1st Seed, St. Lawrence Academy. The backline—seniors Ella Miller and Devon Carty, along with junior Michelle St. Jacques and sophomore Ania McMichael—had one of their best games all season. Defending the All American, Utah commit Brooke Ahern was a challenge; however, Suffield rose to the occasion and denied her the ball. On top of that, the offense was unstoppable. Just three minutes into the game, freshman Diana Bafford played a beautiful through ball to Nadja, who got fouled in the box for a penalty kick. Lauren Carey placed it in the bottom left, putting Suffield up 1-0. However, St. Lawrence didn't give up, hitting the crossbar multiple times. Never-the-less, Suffield had a free-kick around 40 yards out with two minutes left in half. Diana placed a perfect ball into the box, where it found the head of Reeghan McCarthy, putting Suffield up 2-0 at halftime. Six minutes into the second half, St. Lawrence scored off a corner, putting the score 2-1. Despite the goal, the Tigers never lost their motivation. Just 6 minutes later, St. Lawrence had a handball in the box, and Lauren Carey put away another penalty, securing the game at 3-1.

Finally, the moment that everyone has worked for finally came—the finals against Pingree School. Playing the best first half of soccer the team had ever played; the team was up 3-0 at the half. Ten minutes into the half, Reeghan scored the first goal off a give-and-go from Kaitlyn Suller. Keeping up the pressure, with 17 minutes left, Michelle passed the ball to Nadja, who beat three defenders and the goalkeeper and passed the ball into the back of the net, putting Suffield up 2-0. Ten minutes later, Diana headed in the third goal off a corner kick from Kaitlyn Suller, ending the half up 3-0. In the second half, Pingree was on fire, hitting the crossbar multiple times. But thankfully keeper, Lauren Burton, made crucial saves, allowing Suffield to keep the lead. However, with 23 minutes left, Pingree scored, making the score 3-1. This did not stop Suffield. With 16 minutes left in the game, Kaitlyn Suller scored the final goal off a pass from Lauren Carey, curling in off the left slide and slotting the ball in the back of the net, making the final score 4-1.

This past fall season was one to remember, and next year's soccer team will be led by strong upperclasswomen, who will plan to win the tournament again.