Soccer wins FAA championship

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Both Greenwich Academy and Sacred Heart teams fought hard throughout the entirety of the game and showcased their soccer skills. Grace Isford '15

[envira-gallery id=”36082″]Convent of the Sacred Heart’s varsity soccer team made history this afternoon, defeating cross-town rival Greenwich Academy to capture the Fairchester Athletic Association (FAA) Championship. Greenwich Academy’s Tammaro Field sidelines brimmed with an enthusiastic crowd of Sacred Heart student, faculty, and parent supporters who cheered the team to its first FAA victory in 24 years.

Both Greenwich Academy and Sacred Heart teams fought hard throughout the entirety of the game and showcased their soccer skills. Grace Isford '15
Sacred Heart sophomore Grace Paletta dribbles past a Greenwich Academy defender.
Grace Isford ’15

The Tigers earned their way into the tournament finals after a winning season. With a 13-4-1 record, the team placed second in the FAA league standings. After receiving a bye for the quarterfinal round of the tournament, the Tigers defeated Rye Country Day School 1-0 in the semifinals November 5. The Greenwich Academy Gators also had a triumphant season, with a 13-2-2 record.
After the varsity team lost 0-6 to Greenwich Academy during the regular season game, the Sacred Heart community rallied for their victory. The Tigers and Gators went head-to-head for the championship title today, and, after finishing the 80 minute regular time game with a 2-2 tie, went into overtime.
With 20 minutes left in the first half, Greenwich Academy’s Megan Root tallied, giving the Gators a 1-0 lead. The Tigers remained scoreless until 27 seconds before halftime when Sacred Heart junior Tracey Hagan scored the first game-tying goal.
“The truth is I think we went into this knowing we wanted this more and that in the final minutes that is what would count, not past scores or statistics,” senior co-captain Emily Casper said.
Convent of the Sacred Heart friends and family helped cheer on the victorious varsity soccer team, who beat Greenwich Academy 3-2 in the FAA Championship. Photo courtesy of Meg Gerli '15
Sacred Heart friends and family helped cheer on the victorious varsity soccer team, who beat Greenwich Academy 3-2 in the FAA Championship. Meg Gerli ’15

Both teams played aggressively in the second half with multiple scoring opportunities for each. Sacred Heart freshman Erin Cleary ended the deadlock with 11 minutes remaining when she scored off a pass from Tracey after sophomore Grace Paletta dribbled the ball up the field. However, Greenwich Academy was quick to bounce back and Maggie Basta’s goal tied the game once again.
When the game’s second half ended, the crowd of Sacred Heart fans chanted and cheered to keep the Tigers motivated during overtime. The game continued with two 10-minute periods.
Although the team’s offensive plays powered them to victory, the Tigers’ defense denied multiple Gator goal attempts. In particular, the 17 saves of sophomore goalie Charlie Clark, and the defensive efforts of sophomore Julia Pogge and senior captain Emily Casper paced the Tigers.
With just over two minutes remaining in the second overtime period, Tracey scored the tie-breaking goal after dodging two defenders on a breakaway.
“When I shot the ball I was just thinking about how much this season meant to me and how I wanted to end on a win,” Tracey said. “So when the ball went in I just jumped straight in the air and ran to my teammates to celebrate. I felt so relieved when the final whistle blew and we had beat GA on their home turf.”
Upon Tracey’s goal, the crowd erupted in cheers as they began to count down the final seconds on the clock. When the referee blew the whistle signaling the game’s completion, Sacred Heart students flooded the rival field in celebration of their team’s hard-fought victory.
Sacred Heart goalie Charlie Clark (in yellow) acts defensively and kicks the soccer ball back to the opponent's side.  Courtesy of Grace Isford '15
Sacred Heart goalie Charlie Clark (in yellow) acts defensively and kicks the soccer ball back to the opponent’s side.
Grace Isford ’15

“Even though I could not play in the tournament, I was so happy to see everyone so excited for us,” injured team member and senior Claren Hesburgh said. “In my four years on the Sacred Heart soccer teams I’ve never seen such a huge turn out for a game and it really meant a lot.”
Enthusiastic Sacred Heart students and parents came out to support their varsity soccer team in the FAA Championship at Greenwich Academy. Grace Isford '15
Enthusiastic Sacred Heart students and parents came out to support their varsity soccer team in the FAA Championship at Greenwich Academy.
Grace Isford ’15

The team has been led for the past two years by Assistant Director of Athletics, Mr. Logan Condon. He believes the Tigers’ regular season game against the Gators and the crowd’s energy contributed to his team’s success.
“GA beat us up pretty good in the regular season, so our girls felt like they had something to prove,” Mr. Condon said according to greenwichtime.com. “Our team brought a huge crowd, which they fed off and got energized from. We really wanted to prove a point.”
While the team’s victorious season leaves a Sacred Heart legacy, it represents a team effort indicative of the players’ strong friendship and determination.
“Honestly we played like we usually do, with heart,” senior team member Catie Capolongo said. “We bonded so much as a team and as a family. We deserved that win and we all knew it. We fought for that win and for each other.”
-Grace Isford, Editor-in-Chief and Priscilla Valdez, Co-Arts and Entertainment Editor