Greenwich High School's defending state champion field hockey team has a lot of shoes to fill this season, and it's well on its way. The Cardinals opened the 2010 season Wednesday after winning their first state title in four years last year and losing a whopping 13 starters. But third-year head coach Ally Orrico seems to have found the players to replace the seniors who left as Greenwich came out strong, defeating Westhill 3-1.
"The girls have worked very hard to this point," Orrico said. "They came out very intense today and took everything that we've been working on in the preseason to the game and it showed."
Greenwich's offense kept the pressure on for most of the first half. Junior forward Claire Feeney found the back of the net with just under 15 minutes left in the half, assisted by Caroline Keaveney. The Cardinals added a crucial second goal in the closing seconds when Jen Renz flicked a wrist shot past the Westhill goalie, sending Greenwich into the break with a 2-0 lead.
Westhill found its focus in the second half and dominated time of possession. Regan Downey knocked the ball out of midair and found the net to cut the lead to 2-1. Greenwich took advantage of what little time they had in the Westhill end, though. Feeney slapped home a one-timer from 15 yards out for her second goal, again fed by Keaveney. The Greenwich bench stood the entire game with enthusiastic cheers, showing that despite the new look, they are coming together as a unit.
"We're a brand-new team, but right from the start we gelled amazingly," Feeney said. "We're all good friends, so there are no problems. As a team, we came out on fire and it was a satisfying win."
Greenwich will try to improve to 2-0 when it travels to Danbury on Friday.
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