H.S. Soccer: Franklin Tech set for Fall II campaigns

  • Franklin Tech’s Gabriella Castagna, right, traps the ball while being guarded by Greenfield’s Alexis Farrick last season in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Recorder Intern
Published: 3/29/2021 6:41:44 PM
Modified: 3/29/2021 6:41:41 PM

The Franklin Tech girls soccer team heads into this peculiar Fall II phase with a very positive and open mindset. According to new head coach Chris Williams, the Eagles are all thankful for the opportunity to be back out on the field.

“I’m really excited to get back out on that field and compete,” said Williams, who also coaches the baseball program at Frontier. “These kids deserve an opportunity to be active and do something that they love doing. They have been robbed of doing what they love for quite some time now, so I’m just very pleased that they were given back this opportunity to play.”

Franklin Tech opens its 2021 campaign Tuesday against Smith Academy in Hatfield.

With seven seniors highlighting the talented Eagles roster, and many underclassmen following behind, Williams said he’s looking for the older players on the team to help guide the underclassmen and develop them into leaders and even better players on the field.

“We have a bunch of seniors who are great leaders, and quite a few talented players who are freshmen and sophomores. We are looking to use our upperclassmen to help develop our younger players moving forward into the future as well,” Williams offered.

For someone who not only has never coached soccer, he didn’t play it growing up, Williams admits there are challenges and difficulties of being a rookie, particularly while taking on such an endeavor during a pandemic.

“I’m a little inexperienced in that regard, however I have been coaching for quite a long time in other sports. This is a cool opportunity for a fun challenge, and these girls have been making it a blast since day one,” noted Williams. 

Williams expects there to be plenty of skill out on the field for the Eagles this season. The aforementioned seven seniors will be leading the charge, and Williams acknowledged the benefit of possessing a roster with such depth and senior experience.

“The number of seniors isn’t something that is necessarily guaranteed, so it kind of makes it really easy on me. I’m really looking forward to watching them along with everyone else compete at a high level against these local teams,” Williams said. 

Senior captain Gabby Castagna is an experienced forward who Williams is going to rely on throughout the year to bring motivation and energy to the rest of the team. Seniors Maralee Wiles, Caitlin Bistrek and Lydia Barrett-Miller are expected to be a force on the defensive side of the ball, with the reliable Emily Merritt in net behind her. Freshmen twins Ella and Anne Kolodziej will hold down the midfield.

Franklin Tech boys

It looked for a while like the Franklin Tech boys soccer team wouldn’t have a season this year due to low numbers. 

The Eagles were able to get 11 players to commit to the team however, giving them just enough to have a season.

The season opener is Tuesday night, with Tech scheduled to take on Smith Academy on its home field at 7 p.m. 

“I told the kids to dress warm for the first game,” Eagles coach Kurt Richardson said. “They told me it doesn’t matter, they’re going to be playing the entire game.” 

While only having 11 players isn’t an ideal situation, six of those 11 are returning from last year’s squad. 

Grayson Rollins, Tony Barilone, Derrick Call, Nick Martin, Alex Davidson-Carroll and Brayden McCord are those six and will be looked upon to step up with their experience. 

“It’s an offseason where they’re a year more mature,” Richardson said. “They’re filling out more like men. Physically, they’ve made advances but not having played in so long, there’s a ways to go with the skill work.” 

With such low numbers, Richardson said he is just hoping to get the season in safely, play all their scheduled games and get the kids out of the house.

“It's nice to see the kids out there doing something,” Richardson said. “I have no clue how it's going to go with all the modifications, I don’t know how the refs are going to treat it. Hopefully we get eight games in and they don’t get discouraged because it might not be pretty. If they’re doing it like I am to just go out there, get some exercise, play some soccer and have fun, we’ll have a good season. If they’re not doing it for those reasons they might not enjoy it.”

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