MSG Varsity: Connecticut girls soccer awards
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Sami Grasso, St. Joseph
Grasso was simply dominant for St. Joseph this year, establishing herself as the top goal-scorer in the region. She posted an impressive 22 goals this season and returned from a bad hip displacement injury in the state semifinals to notch a goal and the game-winning assist in a 2-1 win over Suffield in the state championship. Grasso was a participant in the inaugural Girls High School All-American Game on Dec. 7 at Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C. and will continue her career at the College of William & Mary next season.
COACH OF THE YEAR
John Salvatore, Wilton
Salvatore's first year at the helm of Wilton's program was a major success story. He helped the Warriors advance to the FCIAC title game for the first time since 2006 and also guided them back to the state quarterfinals. Salvatore had been around the program before taking over as coach, so it’s easy to see why the team quickly flourished under him. Wilton seems to be in good hands moving forward after a hectic few seasons on the coaching front. Salvatore was the program's third head coach in the last three years.
TEAM OF THE YEAR
What a year for the Cadets. They captured a second straight FCIAC championship and their first state championship since 2008. St. Joseph defeated top-seeded Suffield 2-1 in the state title game and its only blemish of the season was a 2-2 tie against Wilton.
All-Connecticut: First team
Annika Sheehan, Wilton, Jr., FW: Sheehan led the attack for the Warriors this season, showcasing an ability to score on any type of play. She beat defenders on the run and finished from the outside, too.
Jess Laszlo, Westhill, Jr., FW: Laszlo controlled games like few in the state could. She gave the Vikings a chance to win each time out, evidenced by Westhill’s 3-1 upset over Darien in the quarterfinals of the FCIAC tournament. Laszlo, a Division I recruit, scored all three goals in the stunning victory. She tallied 20 goals overall to bring her career total up to 70.
Krissy Bradley, Fairfield Ludlowe, Sr., FW: Bradley was one of the top scorers in the FCIAC and always came through in the clutch. She was the driving force behind a Ludlowe team that lost to eventual champ St. Joseph 2-1 in penalty kicks of the state quarterfinals.
Grace Blackwell, Joel Barlow, Soph., FW: Blackwell's already one of the top players in the South-West Conference and one of the top all-around talents in the state. She can play multiple positions and always impacts the game.
Jenna Bike, St. Joseph, Soph., MF: Bike was arguably the top midfielder in the FCIAC. She was a spectacular passer and will be the clear leader for St. Joseph the next two seasons.
Lindsay Knutson, Wilton, Sr., MF: A senior captain for Wilton, Knutson brought a tough attitude and winning mentality to the Warriors. She made big plays in crucial games and was a big part of the team’s 15-4-3 campaign.
Emily Stein, Darien, Sr., MF: Darien finished the regular season with a 10-3-3 record and entered the state tournament as a 12-seed thanks to Stein’s strong play. She was a captain and leader for the Blue Wave and will play lacrosse at Northwestern next season.
Megan Bartholomew, Greenwich, Sr., D: Bartholomew, a gifted and explosive athlete, spearheaded the Cardinals' back line. She was one of the most tenacious defenders in the FCIAC.
Julia Delaney, Fairfield Warde, Sr., D: The Mustangs’ defense was one of the top in the area and Delaney was the catalyst behind it. She teamed up with goalie Katie Brennan to form an airtight unit.
Sabrina Toole, St. Joseph, Sr., D: Toole was an All-American and the MSG Varsity Player of the Year last season and had an equally impressive senior campaign. She will go down as one of the best defenders in school history and is slated to play in the inaugural Girls High School All-American Game. Toole will continue her career at Fordham University next season.
Katie Brennan, Fairfield Warde, Sr., G: Brennan was one of the top goalies in the FCIAC and single-handedly kept the Mustangs in many games this season. An an all-state player, she led Warde to the FCIAC tournament and the second round of the Class LL playoffs. Brennan, who will play next season at the University of Richmond of Richmond, gave up just seven goals and posted 10 shutouts.
All-Connecticut: Second team
Kerri Eden, Barlow, Jr., FW
Kacie O’Neill, Bunnell, Sr., FW
Dakota Kelly, Amity, Sr., FW
Leah Lewis, St. Joseph, Soph., MF
Kelly Karczewski, Darien, Sr., MF
Haley English, Wilton, Jr., MF
Marina Braccio, New Canaan, Jr., MF
Heidi Druehl, Westhill, Jr., D
Cori Scales, St. Joseph, Sr., D
Kyriaki Marinos, Trumbull, Soph., D
Ellen Probst, Barlow, Jr., G