Connecticut Girls HS Preview: Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Suffield, West Haven/Sacred Heart eye the big prize

Gary Demopoulos
Gary Demopoulos
Gary Demopoulos has been covering prep school hockey for the HNIB News for over 30 years, and has been the editor of the HNIB News since 2005. A former sportswriter and news editor at the Woburn (MA) Daily Times Chronicle, he has been the HNIB News' key reporter for Mens Prep School hockey since 1988, as well as womens hockey, both at the prep school and high school levels. for almost 20 years. Gary also helps organize and oversee HNIB's many summer tournaments and festivals for scholastic players.

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A total of 22 teams will participate in Connecticut Girls High School hockey this winter. The FCIAC will have eight teams. The SCC North is comprised of six teams and the SCC South has eight teams. Darien is a three-time state champion. Here’s a look at the teams.


Shea van den Broek

DARIEN (19-4-1)

The three-time defending state champion Blue Wave lost some key players, but still return a solid nucleus that would like nothing more than making it four titles in a row.

Coach Jamie Tropsa has senior captain Shea van den Broek (43 pts) and the sophomore duo of Kate Bellissimo (30 pts) and Nelie Knifin (20 pts) to power the offensive attack.

Junior captain Cate Droogan and sophomore Catherine Martin will be formidable defensive pairing. Darien also returns starting goalie Hallie Kreppein (1.22 gaa), a junior.

Providing depth will be senior Abbie Lia, juniors Kit Arrix, Colleen Cassidy and Caitlin Chan, and sophomores Olivia Tuscano, Lucie Edwards, Kelly Raymond and Jane Keleghan.

Jessica Eccleston
New Canaan

NEW CANAAN (19-5-0)

A state semifinalist a year ago, the Rams return 14 players ready to make another serious run. The team has won six state titles under the tutelage of Rich Bulan, starting his 29th year as a high school head coach.

Scoring will need to come from the sophomore tandem of Courtney O’Connell (11 goals) and Anik Curri (25 pts). Junior Quincy Connell will have a key offensive role.

Defense will be strong, led by senior captains Jessica Eccleston (2 time all-stater) and Katelyn Sparks (second team all state). Junior Sophie Potter and sophomore McKenna Harden add to the blue line mix.

In goal, the Rams boast sophomore Blythe Novick (first team all stater) and senior captain Kara Fahey.

GREENWICH (18-3-1)

The Cardinals have been conference champions the past two seasons and should be right there battling again this winter.

Offensively, catalyst for coach Alex Lerchen, is his fifth year, will be senior Jennifer Kelly (27 pts), senior Paige Finneran (19 pts), senior Grace Fahey (11 pts), and junior Emma Wingrove (19 pts).

On the blue line, junior Sydney Orszulak (20 pts), junior Katie Piotrzowski (12 pts) and senior Hayley Duffy (12 pts) form a solid trio also capable of getting involved in the offensive end.

Sophomore Hannah Goldenberg, 6-2 last year with a 0.96 gaa, will be expected to do the job between the pipes.

Sophia Mughal
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Samantha Henchcliffe
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Caitlin Cavanaugh
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Jess Pitaniello



There is some optimism in Fairfield where the combined forces of Ludlowe and Warde high schools hope to be in the mix. New head coach Michelle Marella is already pleased with team chemistry.

Returninng juniors Lindsey Maloney and Samantha Henchcliffe, and sophomore Sophia Mughal, will be heavily involved with the Fairfield offense. Keep an eye on freshman twins Zoe and Delphine Tamborello.

Senior Maris Estevez and juniors Caitlin Cavanaugh and Jess Pitaniello will log a lot of minutes on the blue line. Sophomore Sidney Falterer is a returning netminder.


The Eagles hope to see some improvement this winter. Good leadership on the ice will be a key factor.

Senior Lydia Prezioso (17 pts) is back at forward for coach Paula Dady. New freshman Devon Cavaliere should help out in the production department.

On defense, senior Erin Owens, a Central Michigan commit for lacrosse, got involved enough offensively to score an impressive 39 goals. Sophomore Megan McCarthy will have a big role.


Inexperienced goaltending will be an issue the Warriors will need to face this year. They have forwards who can score.

The trio of Meghan Lane (48 pts), Caitlyn Hockey (33 pts) and Alyssa Laychak (16 pts) will put up some numbers for coach Peter Maxfield. Grace Bracken and Gianna Filipponi should have increased offensive roles. Newcomers Holly Cooper, Sophia Savage, Rachel Calabrese and Jenna Cole look to contribute.

Kimmy Castano and Grace DeCesare are experienced blue liners. Emmy Castano and freshmen Abby DeCesare and Alexandra Cullen add defensive depth.

The goaltending chores will fall on Kate Ely, who played defense last winter in the JV program, and incoming freshman Emily Johnson.

  • Ridgefield and Stamford/Staples will also compete in the FCIAC this year. Lauren Lubrano is coaching Ridgefield and John Fay will be the coach for Stamford/Staples


Meredith Mack


After a great four-year stretch that saw a state title, a state finals appearance and two SCC Conference titles, ETB took a step back last winter in a rebuilding year. But, energized by a youth movement, the team plans to be much improved in 2019-2019.

Allison DiPrato

Two seniors, Victoria Amara (20 pts, All Conference) and Meredith Mack (10 pts) return to again lead the offense for coach Frank Usseglio. Junior Samantha Ostrowski is back in the forward lines after playing defense last year. Four freshmen – Amelia Molin, Meghan Croyle, Carly Sanzo and Emily Scola – all should have an immediate impact.

Senior Allison DiPrato, a Lebanon Valley College commit, will anchor the ETB defense along with junior Julia Swanson and junior Erica Ferri. Freshman Mary McKiernan will join the rotation.

In goal, returning junior Gianna Cormier and incoming freshman Maren Riley will handle the goaltending chores.

Grace Melanson

SIMSBURY (9-12-1)

With a returning group small in numbers, a talented group of incoming freshmen will need to get up to speed quickly and have an immediate impact for the Trojans to have a successful campaign.

The offense will be led by junior Grace Melanson (24 pts). On defense, senior Meghan Stepka will be an anchor for coach Paul Melanson.


This club is coming off one of its best seasons, having qualified for the state tournament for the first time, and also reaching the SCC Conference Final.

At forward, look for senior Annie Alissi, junior Andi Chancio and sophomore Kaylie Zemke to lead the attack.

Defensively, senior Meg Mclellan will be the driving force for coach John Alissi. Two freshmen blueliners to watch are Riley Millard and Skylar Kline. Junior Brianna McDermott is a returning starter in the nets.

Captains this year will be Annie Alissi, Mclellan, Elizabeth Murphy and Megan Sisk.


Coach Michael Carrera says his team is looking to improve on its overall team defense, and have a quicker strike offense.

Senior Abby Lamson, junior Mackenzie Carrera and junior Kort Bartko will shoulder the load offensively for the Nighthawks.

Junior Sara Murphy and senior Kathleen Olmstead will be keys in the defensive zone.

A couple of freshmen hoping to crack the lineup are Adele Oprica and Shelby Little.


With a returning All-State performer at each position, the Wildcats will be a formidable squad that looks to repeat its SCC North title.

One of those All Staters – senior Sophie Lupone (41 pts), a Sacred Heart commit, is a key component to coach Joe Gozzi’s offense. Junior Nora Birmingham is another solid returner. New sophomore Shianne Cecire and freshmen Ashlynn Kelsey, Skylar Boucher and Kylie Downs add to the mix.

Senior Tori Geaglone (1st team All State) and fellow seniors Cassidy Begley and Chase Lambert form an impressive blue line leadership group. Sophomore Emily Bava and freshman Sophie Blais add depth.

And in goal, junior All State goalie Caitlyn Caldon (1.21 gaa) is back for the Wildcats.


A well-balanced team with a good number of seniors, the Warchiefs look to be very competitive.

Coach Brett Soucy  will look to Shibe Couchman, Maya Borden, Nikki Herz, Rosie McGowan, Abby Goncalves and Luci Alissi for leadership at forward.

On defense, Lindley Gorman and Cailin Flaherty will take care of matters in front of returning goalie Nora McGowan.


Victoria Lynn
West Haven/Sacred Heart


With a solid returning group at all positions. WHSHA should be a force to deal with in the SCC South Division.

Taylor Nowak
West Haven/Sacred Heart

Up front, junior Taylor Nowak is coming off a 30-point season. Senior Celina Condon (14 pts), senior Francesca Criscuolo and junior Megan Froelich (24 pts) are all back as well.

The defense for coach Erin Blake has some depth with the return of senior Veronica Lynn (15 pts), junior Brooke McNabola and sophomore Mackenzie Gardner. Freshman Meghan Dupree will fit right in on the blue line.

Senior Kyleen Crowe (7 shutouts last year) is back between the pipes. Freshman Grace Nowak is with the program as well.

MASUK CO-OP (3-17-0)

Laurelton Hall joins Masuk, Joel Barlow and Newtown in this co-op program, which should add some depth to the roster.

Offensive leaders for coach Andy Townsend project to be senior Nikita Iicuidina, senior Mari Bischeoff, junior Erin Webdale and junior Cat Murphy. New freshman Caroline Raymond looks for a role.

Keys on the blue line for the Panthers are seniors Haylie Bernier and Claire McCory and junior Catie Gregory.

In goal, freshman Eva Smith will battle for time.

HAMDEN (16-5-2)

The Green Dragons lost eight seniors to graduation so depth could be an issue this winter. On the bright side, the team returns five of its top seven scorers.

Expect scoring production to come from the likes of seniors Megan McKiernan, senior Ari Martin, junior Demeri Carangelo and junior Reilly Sargolini.

Senior captain Claire Boncek is back to handle things on defense for coach Mike Callan. Fershman Colby Becker could have a big role.

Hamden needs to find a replacement for the graduated Gianna Spirio in goal.

HAND (5-16-0)

Eric Roy has taken over as the Tigers new head coach and he reports that his club will have several new faces as well as he looks to build a new winning tradition.

Senior Grace Doheny and senior Elizabeth Licari will be up to the task in the offensive zone. Senior Grace Lavin will be a big part of the Hand defensive group.


This co-op program adds Wallingford this year which will allow the Wings to remain competitive despite the loss of 12 seniors and two to prep school.

Juniors Sophia Caturano, Gianna Benni and Emma Sheehan head the list of returning forwards for coach Jack Norton. Hoping to contribute right away are sophomore Molly Donnegan, sophomore Ashleen Keating and freshman Meagan Montenaro.

Defensively, look for senior Brianna Raccio and junior Melanie Norton to be cornerstones. Senior Shannon Sauter joins the group from Wallingford. Freshman Maddie Montenaro looks for time.

New junior Christina Meadows is ready for some time in the Wings cage.

Shannon Reilly
Amity/North Haven/Cheshire


Some good numbers return up front for the Blades, who won the 2016-17 SCC title.

Seniors Shannon Reilly (23 pts) and Andrea DelVecchio (20 pts), both tri-captains, will team with junior Tess Csejka (31 pts) to provide some good scoring. Freshman Mia Dow will press for quality time.

Meaghan Hogan
Amity/North Haven/Cheshire

Coach John Pecshell has a lot of confidence defensively in senior Meaghan Hogan (15 pts). Freshman Ilana Leynar can play both defense and forward.

GUILFORD (6-11-0)

Building slowly over the last two years, the Indians are primed to be a big factor in the SCC South race this season.

Experience and leadership at forward will come from senior Mariah Cretella and juniors Audrey Rowen and Lily Mackey. Freshmen hoping to open some eyes are Madison Epke, Daniella Vickerman and Sydney Miles.

There is also experience on the blue line, where coach Rick Binkowski will rely on senior Sarah Ziemba, junior Jaime Neleber and junior Mary Evans. Freshman Olivia Gill adds depth.

In goal, senior Brielle Kendrioski returns.


Possessing a strong defense and solid goaltending, if the Lancers can put the puck in the net on a consistent basis, they could be a tough opponent.

Coach Kerri Rowland is hoping that senior Katelyn Pond and juniors Leigha Howland and Lexie Burwell are more than up to the task. Help could come from freshmen Ashley Wright and Ashley Regina.

Laura Dennigan and Bridget Magyar, both seniors will patrol the Lancers’s blue line, ably assisted by sophomore MacKenzie Broderick.

Sophomore Bethany Karp will focus on a solid season between the pipes.

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