Besides the significance of getting back on the winning track following a loss against Darien, today’s victory over Norwalk at Cardinal Stadium was extra special for the Greenwich High School field hockey team.
Today marked Senior Day for Greenwich, which honored its 12 seniors in their final regular season home game at Cardinal Stadium. For the Cardinals’ seniors it was the last opportunity for them to shine on their home field, before the postseason, which will likely bring the team on the road.
And Greenwich’s seniors were certainly a bright spot on their special day.
Receiving five goals from its seniors, Greenwich registered a decisive 5-1 win over visiting Norwalk. The triumph moved Greenwich’s record to 10-4 with road games against Newtown and Wilton remaining.
“The other day against Darien was a really tough game,” said GHS coach Megan Wax, whose Cardinals dropped a 5-1 decision to the Blue Wave on Monday. “The girls fought hard and they were upset with the ending and how it went. We felt like the score didn’t indicate the type of game that it was. So it was great to see them come out today and bring tons of energy. It was a fun Senior Day for them. They had activities last night, this morning. It was fun to see them come out and bring that love for the game out on the field.”
Senior Zita Cohen scored two goals, while senior Justine Liguori registered one goal and two assists to power the Cardinals offensively. Kyra Pires, a senior, and Isa Biagini, also a senior, added one goal apiece for the victors.
Indeed, the seniors enjoyed their Senior Day.
“For us, it’s our time to celebrate the last four years,” said Cohen, one of the team’s captains. “It is kind of a goodbye ceremony, because it’s our last home game, the last time we’ll be playing here in the regular season at least. So it’s our chance to say goodbye to our parents, who came here today and watched us and our coaches and thank them for everything they have done for us the last four years.”
All of the seniors started the game and played together in the first quarter. They also saw action throughout the FCIAC matchup, which saw the Cardinals open their lead in the third quarter.
“It was a lot of fun,” Cohen said. “I think the spirit that we had today, started out early in the morning with a breakfast with the whole team. It helped bring us together and we really brought the energy once the game started.”
Pires gave Greenwich a 1-0 lead, scoring with 11:57 remaining in the opening quarter. Biagini tallied off a pass from Liguori, putting the Cards ahead, 2-0 at the 1:04 mark of the first quarter. The Biagini-Liguori combination has resulted in numerous goals this season.
Norwalk cut Greenwich’s advantage to 2-1 when senior Gemma Warde’s shot found the back of the cage with nine seconds to go in the second quarter. It remained a one-goal game until the Cardinals tallied in transition with 6:29 left in the third quarter.
Following a stretch that saw the Bears apply solid pressure in the Cardinals’ circle, the ball was cleared out of Greenwich’s zone and Cohen got loose on a breakaway. She wound up scoring on the counterattack, after being set up nicely by Liguori, extending the home team’s lead to 3-1.
Cohen’s second goal came off a penalty corner at the 4:13 mark of the third period, making it 4-1. Liguori added a goal in the third period with 2:30 left, putting the Cards on top, 5-1. Senior Brynn McConnell and sophomore Kelly Janssen each played well in goal for Greenwich.
“We’ve been working really hard,” Greenwich senior captain Angelica Veronis said. “We are building each other up and games like this, where we bring it out and we are on fire, boosts our confidence.”
As for Senior Day and being a senior on the squad, Veronis said: “Being a senior doesn’t feel real, but as I said in my senior intro, being able to bond with the underclassmen is one of the best parts of the program. So Senior Day really means girls showing each other how much we support and love each other, which is a huge part of the program.”
Senior captain Isa Lattuada won’t forget her Senior Day and senior season for the Cardinals – a season that still has plenty of games left in it, since the postseason is approaching.
“It was fun playing with all the seniors together and really working together as a team and seeing how each individual on the team has such an impact,” Lattuada said. “The underclassmen, we have a lot of trust and faith in them and it’s great to have such a variety of grades on the field and that helps with everything.”
Cardinals senior captain Maggie Bulis shared the same sentiment.
“This year has been really amazing,” Bulis said. “With this game, it felt like one last stride, because this was our last home game. It felt like one last whole game with the whole senior squad and I enjoyed being out there with my team. The first quarter was all seniors, which was so amazing. It felt like we were passing on the team to the next generation.”
Greenwich seniors include: Bulis, Cohen, Lattuada, Veronis, Liguori, Mackenzie Boolbol, Ana Florina Galic, Nima Gupte, Madeline Hoekman, Brynn McConnell, Kyra Pires and Megan Young.
“Twelve of them, half of our team, they’re a big class,” Wax said of the senior players. “They are going to be hard to replace. They’ve been with the program for a long time and have a passion for the sport and love being on the field. They are resilient –and we’re going to miss them big time.”