The Tolland High School girls' soccer team lost nine players to graduation, but those that have taken over the vacated roles seem like they were more than ready to.
The Eagles lost their first two games, each by one goal, but then seemed to hit their stride with two wins and a tie, to improve to 2-2-1 after five games. Along the way, they stopped Glastonbury's 63-game win streak with a 0-0 stalemate, and South Windsor's 4-game, season-starting win streak on Sept. 21.
After that game, coach Erin Reed said her core group is comprised of players who have been on the varsity team before, and have learned how to take control of a game. As the season progresses, she said, they need to improve on possessing the ball.
"We have some spectacular individual play, but not enough team possession," she said. "A lot of times they try to make the spectacular pass, and it doesn't connect. They've got to learn to play simple. That's how you create."
This team is aiming to improve on last year, which is no small feat, as the Eagles took a Class M 17 seed all the way to the semifinal round. They also have a tough schedule.
"We don't have a single easy game," Reed said. "We play all L and LL schools. We've got Manchester, East Catholic, Middletown, and Berlin. We've got E.O. Smith and another game with RHAM and another game with Enfield [the Eagles' two losses]."
The work ethic and communication should help them improve team play and chase that goal.
"They're a fun group, they're a nice group, and they're very cohesive," Reed said. "That bodes well. The possession play will come."
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