Girls soccer

Underclassmen fuel Wildcats to three straight 

Story and photos by Richard W. Dionne, Jr. 
Posted 4/13/21

The Westport girls soccer team has won three straight games to boost their record to 3-2 in the Mayflower Athletic Conference.

The Wildcats began the season, 0-2, losing home and away games to Bishop Connolly. 

But the team broke that streak by crushing Cape Cod Regional Tech, 9-0, at home on Tuesday, March 30, and they haven’t looked back.

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Girls soccer

Underclassmen fuel Wildcats to three straight 

Posted

The Westport girls soccer team has won three straight games to boost their record to 3-2 in the Mayflower Athletic Conference.

The Wildcats began the season, 0-2, losing home and away games to Bishop Connolly. 

But the team broke that streak by crushing Cape Cod Regional Tech, 9-0, at home on Tuesday, March 30, and they haven’t looked back. They handed Bristol-Plymouth their first loss of the season, 5-0, on Tuesday, April 6, and then beat them again at home, 2-1, on Thursday. 

Underclassmen have been doing most of the scoring for Westport. Freshmen Korynne Holden scored three goals in the team’s series against Bristol-Plymouth, including the game winner in the 2-1, home game. The speedy winger leads the team in scoring, with 4 goals and 5 assists. 

“Korynne is very fast and can put a ton of pressure on opposing defenses,” said Wildcats Head Coach Sheldon Thibodeau. 

Eighth grade striker Julia George is runner up, with 4 goals and 4 assists. 

“Julia loves to play striker and she knows how to finish,” said Wildcats head coach Sheldon Thibodeau. “She steps up when she gets opportunities.”

George due to her age, doesn’t start for the Wildcats, but receives plenty of playing time subbing for starters Alora Defonseca and Abby Silvia.

“I like to keep the players fresh to put pressure on our opponents,” said Coach Thibodeau. 

Junior midfielders Laura Martel and Jesse Skov have also helped out on offense. Martel has scored 3 goals and 4 assists and Skov scored 2 goals and 3 assists. Martel, Skov, Payton Mahjoory and defensive backs Gwenyth Pichette, Naomi Cass, Sarah Perry, and Tess Silvia have played like a stone wall, defensively, letting up only 2 goals in the last 4 games. 

“The defense did a phenomenal job,” said Coach Thibodeau. “The back four, their movement is so great. They shift and push up, which puts a lot of pressure on our opponents.”  

 

New head coach

Coach Thibodeau, the former assistant coach, stepped in as head coach this season after Gary Muello opted out for personal reasons. The two coaches had started the girls soccer program together four years ago.

“I have learned more about coaching soccer from Gary in the past four years than I had learned previously,” said Coach Thibodeau. We will all be thinking about him and wishing him the best. His passion will be greatly missed and we look forward to him returning.” 

 

Dealing with Covid

Due to the pandemic, the Wildcats will play 14 games in seven weeks and will play home and home series with each divisional opponent. In addition, throw-ins have been replaced by kick-ins to keep hands off of the ball and mask breaks will take place once a half. 

“We are excited to be together and playing a season,” said Coach Thibideau. Instead of their normal fall season, Westport put together an intramural program to give the girls an opportunity to play last fall. But the team missed the competitive aspect of playing against other schools. “We are glad to have some semblance of normalcy now,” Coach Thibodeau said.

 

Formations

The Wildcats will use the 4-3-3 holding and 4-4-2 diamond formations that they have used the past four years, said Coach Thibodeau. Junior strikers Alora Defonseca and Abby Silvia will be flanked by junior Jesse Skov and freshman Korynne Holden at wing.

“Jesse is a highly skilled player who has the ability to significantly influence a game,” said Coach Thibodeau. 

The team relies heavily on midfielders Laura Martel and Payton Mahjoory. Martel, a junior and Mahjoory, a sophomore, to control the middle of the field, said Coach Thibideau. “They have a balanced skill set so they can contribute offensively and defensively.”

The defensive back four is made up of junior Gwenyth Pichette, junior Naomi Cass, freshman Sarah Perry, and eighth grader Tess Silvia. 

“It is a good mix of experienced and younger players,” said Coach Thibodeau. “All four of them have really stepped up. It means a lot that the girls have been willing to play multiple positions and try something new.” 

Eighth grader Tess Silvia is the team’s Swiss Army knife, said Coach Thibodeau. “Tess is fast and has great ball control. She also has great tactical awareness and is an excellent defender. Her skills will allow her to play defense, midfield and forward.” 

At goalkeeper, seventh grade back-up Abigail Krzyszton was forced into action when senior starter Sophia Reed was injured in Westport’s first game of the season, a 5-2 loss to Bishop Connolly. 

“She did an amazing job stepping up unexpectedly,” Coach Thibodeau said. Abigail is very poised and calm and has great hands.” Krzyszton will play keeper for the Wildcats until Reed is able to come back. Reed is very athletic and a team leader as the only senior, the coach said.

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