Point of view can be very important these days.
On one hand the Sandwich High School girls’ soccer team could enter the year with a collective bitterness, since they will not get to make up for missing out on the MIAA state tournament last year. The Knights came up a single point short and planned on making amends this year, but won’t get the opportunity since there will be no state tournament held.
On the other hand—the one that the Knights are choosing to entertain—the team gets to play soccer and not have to miss out on the season, unlike the athletes from last spring who did not get to play lacrosse, or track, or golf, or softball.
With a senior-laden class, it is safe to say that had there been a tournament inn 2020 the Sandwich girls would have been a part of it, and might have been a very high seed. This year’s team is one of the more talented and most experienced that head coach Dave DeConto has rolled out during his tenure. With 10 seniors on the roster and a nice mix of juniors, sophomores and freshmen, the Lady Knights promise to be a very competitive group in the Cape and Islands League. While they might not have a chance to play for a state title, you can be sure that the squad has a good chance to be in the mix for the Cape and Islands title.
DeConto said the big thing is that there is a season, and that his team plans to enjoy it every day. “Wear your mask, do the right thing, that’s our message,” he said. “One slip-up and we could be right back home again.”
No one wants to be back at home when the team is so capable of making a run at the league. DeConto said the players are adapting to the new rules that they have to adhere to for this season well, but without the opportunity to scrimmage during the preseason portion of the schedule it is still up in the air as to how well they have figured things out.
“The consensus is that they’re taking to the rules pretty well. We are going through every iteration we can, but we don’t know how the game is going to be called. We’ve just been able to scrimmage ourselves, and it’s like trying to do this with an invisible dance partner, so to speak,” the coach explained.
Leading the way for the Knights will be a tightknit group of seniors who have played together for some time. Leading the 10 final year players is Bentley University-bound Bridget Gleason, an attacking midfielder who should help lead the offense in a major way. “She goes 100 percent for the whole game, and never slows down,” the coach said. “Her ability to become a goal scorer, on top of her passing, has made her a (big threat).”
In goal, another college-bound senior will hold down the fort. One of the Cape and Islands’ top goalies for the past few years, Sarah Lutsic has all the tools to shut down the opposition. In a season where offensive numbers are expected to climb thanks to all of the rules changes, DeConto said having Lutsic in net is a calming thought. “She’s supremely strong and talented,” the coach said.
Daria Horman might be the most fired-up Lady Knight to be playing this year. An injured ACL kept her off of the field in 2019 and she would have been very disappointed if she had missed both her junior and senior seasons. Back at it this year, DeConto said that Horman is very good at controlling the pace of play and moving the ball adroitly through the midfield area.
Co-captain Meg Lizotte anchors the back end of the field for the Knights. Lizotte takes charge on defense for SHS and is a “commander on the field,” the coach said.
Victoria McGittigin will be a key player on the offensive side. With speed to burn, she will leave defenses in her wake and is quick to find an open teammate or take a good shot.
Katelyn Kramer does her best work in the midfield for the Knights. DeConto said she teams with Horman to make a solid unit in the middle. “She’s the perfect person for Daria to play off of and through,” the coach said.
Hanlyn O’Neil works at outside back on defense. The senior does a nice job of controlling the pace and keeping the ball moving forward. Clara Woodard is dangerous with long shots for SHS and sets up her teammates very well. On defense, Annabelle Tomczyk also does a nice job of keeping things in front of her and transitioning the ball from defense to offense.
The junior class has five players on the girls’ varsity this year. Ella Curley was one of the few sophomores last year to get a good amount of playing time, and her experience is an asset. She has a tough mindset on the pitch and can play anywhere on the back line.
Madison Vachon is a central back for SHS. She missed out on playing last year due to surgery, and is excited to get out on the field and start playing.
Morgan Ramsey will add to the team’s offensive presence. Ramsey will play both striker and outside midfield and has the speed and athleticism to tip the balance for SHS.
Midfielder Claire Moniz was Sandwich’s most-improved player a year ago and is being counted on to be a big part of the mix this year. Coach DeConto called her a “phenomenal athlete.”
Grace Cohen, a forward and midfielder, rounds out the junior class members of the team. Cohen plays the game fast and can put the ball into the net thanks to her surprising speed that leaves defenders flat-footed.
Two sophomores are in the mix for SHS. Sophia Ricciardi is an outside midfielder and forward who can speed past defenses. Riley Morrison is a “physical specimen” who can play anywhere on the field, and probably will. “She’s a great athlete, and a great kid. Always has a smile on her face,” DeConto said.
Five freshmen are also vying for time. DeConto said that with such a large senior class he wanted to bring up more freshmen than he normally would so that they can get their feet wet and learn the speed and style of the varsity game without much pressure being on them, which should pay dividends a year from now when they’ll be counted on to produce more.
The freshmen who will be with the varsity are Lily Hofmann, Julia Sutton, Liza Palazesi, Avery Haines and Kiera Simmons. Freshman Rebecca Dykas was also supposed to be in the mix at center back and defensive midfield, but injured her knee on the first day of practice and was lost for the season.