Fall sports

Greenwich High field hockey team enters the season with a strong nucleus of returning and first year varsity players

Photo by David Fierro: From left to right, Angelica Veronis, Isa Lattuada, Zita Cohen and Maggie Bulis are senior captains of the Greenwich High School field hockey team. The Cardinals open their season Sept. 11 against Mamaroneck.

The abbreviated 2020 season ended with a title for the Greenwich High School field hockey team, which won the FCIAC West Region championship by defeating Stamford. The victory perfectly capped the careers for last season’s seniors and provided a boost for the juniors and underclassmen.

“We were so grateful for having a season at all last season, ” said Greenwich coach Megan Wax, who is in her third season at the helm. “It was the best way to end the season, that group wanted to win no matter what it was. I think winning that title sparked an energy in our varsity team last year, as well as our JV and freshman who were following along them.”

Last season saw the Cardinals face a handful of teams in their designated region, due to the COVID-19 restrictions that were in place. This fall, Greenwich will play a full schedule, including some of its rivals in the form of Staples, Ridgefield and Wilton – opponents it didn’t meet last season.

“I’m really excited to get back to it, especially since last year we had so many restrictions,” said Greenwich senior Maggie Bulis, one of the Cardinals’ four captains. “I think this year is going to be really fun. We have a lot of new players on varsity, so I’m just really excited.”

Graduation claimed 11 seniors from last season’s team, which posted a 6-4-1 record on their way to the FCIAC West title, including captains Jorja Pastore, Charlotte Gans, Ellie Ybarra and Agustina Ferrario, all of whom left their mark on the program. Now this season’s senior captains – Zita Cohen, Bulis, Isa Lattuada and Angelica Veronis – are eager to help lead the team against the tough competition they will soon go up against.

Cohen, who will play field hockey at Brown University next year, likes the Cards’ dynamic.

“Compared to last year when we had a lot of seniors and a lot more upperclassmen who were starters, this year, we only have four returning starters, so we have a lot of young players and a fresh team,” Cohen said. “It’s easy to teach them and everyone is able to bond and jell together. I’m honored to be able to have the opportunity to push my team to its potential.”

Photo by David Fierro: Klara Mueffelmann, left, looks to get a shot on goal during Greenwich’s practice.

A four-year varsity player, Cohen should ignite the squad from her center midfield position.

“I like that position, you can make the plays and create opportunities,” Cohen said. “This season, I’m really looking forward to our team winning and giving it all our potential on the field.”

Wax is accustomed to seeing Cohen make her presence felt throughout the field.

“Zita has been here a long time and can set the tone,” Wax said. “She understands what it takes to be on a varsity team. On the field, she is dynamic. She can play both ends and her stick skills are amazing.”

Lattuada is also a versatile player, who can aid the Cardinals in various roles/positions.

“She is our jack of all trades,” Wax said of Lattuada. She is in there on our offensive corners, scoring goals. She’s there on our defensive corners, stopping them. Anywhere when you need someone to step up, she’s there.”

Lattuada will continue her field hockey career at Amherst College, after graduating from Greenwich High in the spring. She believes last season’s experience is going to help the team.

“Seeing how our past teams have performed definitely helps us see what we can use this year,” Lattuada said. “We can use what worked from last year. We have a lot of strong forwards and midfielders, which will help us. We should have a lot of scoring opportunities this year and a lot of fast players.”

Isa Lattuada is one of the Greenwich field hockey team’s standout captains.

Like her fellow captains, Lattuada enjoys her leadership role.

“It’s a lot of fun, a lot of work and I enjoy leading the team and showing the team what Greenwich field hockey is all about,” she said. “We’ve been emphasizing working as a 60-minute team and playing all four strong quarters.”

Bulis is one of the forwards the Cardinals will rely upon to pace the offense.

“We are excited to see Maggie on the forward line,” Wax said. “She’s a very quick player, so we’re excited to see her utilize her speed.”

Capitalizing on scoring opportunities will indeed, be one of the keys to the Cardinals’ success.

“Last year we had a little bit of an issue scoring goals, so I think this year, we need to get our shots off and our forward line needs to work on finishing and getting in goals against our rivals and competition,” Bulis said.

The Greenwich field hockey team worked on their shooting during its practice, as they prepare for the upcoming season.

Veronis is a returning midfielder, a position she brings a lot of speed to.

“She can play on both sides of the ball and has really quick reaction,” Wax said of Veronis.

Said Veronis: ” I’m just really excited to get back to normal. This program has so much potential and I’m glad that we get to showcase it and show the talent this year in normal conditions. There’s a lot of excitement and anticipation on the team and I’m excited to be a teacher and a leader.”

Justine Liguori, a senior, will help solidify the team’s forward position. Like Lattuada, she will bring her field hockey talents to Amherst next season.

“She was an All-FCIAC West Team selection last year and is explosive on that forward line,” Wax said of Liguori. “She’s a powerhouse.”

Junior Klara Mueffelmann is a dynamic forward, who should be difficult for the opposition to defend. She’s already committed to play field hockey at Boston College.

“Klara’s stick stills are unbelievable and the fight and grit she has is amazing,” Wax said.

The Greenwich High School field hockey team plays Ridgefield in its home-opener on Sept. 14.

Brynn McConnell and Kelly Janssen are the goalies for the Cardinals, who have a lot of players compteting for positions.

The Cards will compete in a jamboree at Glastonbury on Saturday and scrimmage Greenwich Academy on Wednesday, before opening its season on Sept. 11 at Mamaroneck.

“We have a pretty new team, with some players who will see some serious varsity minutes for the first time,” the Cardinals coach said. “We have a lot of potential so it’s about coming up with the best combinations at the right spots.”

Sarah Jarombek returns as a varsity assistant coach and Erik Caraballo is back as an assistant coach and the program’s strength and conditioning coach. Stephanie Fazio is the junior varsity coach and Amanda Oberly guides the freshman team.

“The reason why I love field hockey so much is the coaching staff,” Veronis said. “They really make the girls feel so supported throughout everything and they really push us to be our best. They set the tone and that influences how much confidence we have. Our coaches really make us believe in ourselves and push us to achieve beyond what we think we are capable of.”

SCHEDULE: Greenwich has home games against Ridgefield (Sept. 14), Brien McMahon (Sept. 18), St. Joseph (Sept. 22), Stamford (Oct. 8), Fairfield Ludlowe (Oct. 12) and Norwalk (Oct. 21). The Cards will travel to New Canaan (Sept. 25), Staples (Oct. 5), Darien (Oct. 8) and Wilton (Oct. 27).

Greenwich field hockey coaches Megan Wax and Erik Caraballo address the team during practice.

“We have our sights set high,” Wax said. “Our goals are to always win a championship. Our whole goal is to grow every single day and whatever the small things we are focused on, we fix and move on to the next one. The girls slogan this year is ‘be resilient’ and I think that’s perfect for this team.”

Added Lattuada: “Winning the FCIAC West title helped our program and players see that we can really do it and it gave us some motivation. We just have to give it our all and work well with the underclassmen to show that this is our year and that we can win FCIACs and states.”

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