Girls’ soccer: It was all about Maddie Potts in Chariho’s first game back

Girls’ soccer: It was all about Maddie Potts in Chariho’s first game back


WOOD RIVER JCT. — When Chariho High took to the field for Sunday’s Division II girls soccer game with Moses Brown it was clear this night was going to be about Maddie Potts.

Potts, a senior captain, died early the morning of Sept. 24 after collapsing just a few hours before in a game with Middletown at Chariho.

Sunday’s game with the Quakers was the first since Potts’ death. Chariho emerged with a 3-1 win.

“Before the game we told them our expectations were just to play with heart, 100 percent heart, leave everything on the field,” coach Brittney Godbout said. “They did that tonight, every single person. Every girl on the field and every girl on the bench. The heart was there.”

During player introductions fellow senior captain Rachel Erkan had Potts’ No. 11 game jersey draped over her shoulder. Before the game started, it was placed around the Piver Cup championship trophy the Chargers won earlier this season at Stonington High. It stayed there on a table near the field throughout the game.

Moses Brown players presented each Chariho player with a flower during introductions.

Potts was introduced as a captain and starter. An 11-second moment of silence was held before the game started.

The Chargers took to the field with 10 players, not the customary 11.

“We started a man down out of respect to Maddie,” Godbout said.

Regulars Claire Fox and Kristyn Morgan, who are injured and have missed several games, were on the field for the kickoff. They played the ball to each other and then sent it to a Moses Brown player. She graciously and intentionally kicked it out of bounds allowing substitutes to enter the game.

“Claire and Kristyn then came off the field with Maddie and we subbed in three others girls,” Godbout said of the touching gesture. “Moses Brown, I can’t say enough about them. I e-mailed their coach Dan (Ohl) the plan a few days ago. And he was like ‘anything you need, we will do.’ Their coach and players are amazing.”

Junior Hannah Orciari scored Chariho’s first goal. The play started with a fine ball from back Daria DiBiasio down the left flank. Orciari carried the ball for a number of yards before delivering a crossing shot in the air into the net.

The goal came with 11:11 left in the first half and it made the score 1-1. Elevens were all around.

Chariho took the lead about 14 minutes into the second half when Gabby O’Connell knocked home a ball from Orciari to put the Chargers up 2-1 with about 26 minutes left.

O’Connell added another one in the final 10 minutes. On the second goal, the ball got past a Quakers’ defender and O’Connell just beat the Moses Brown goalie to the ball before scoring from about 12 yards out.

“I pretty much did this for Maddie,” O’Connell said. “She was with me the whole time. I just had a lot of confidence this game for some reason. My team — they really worked hard. I felt like we were together.”

It was O’Connell’s first two goals of the season.

The game was stopped at the 24:21 mark of the second half out of respect for the moment Potts was stricken in her last game.

Players from each team gathered in separate small circles with their arms around each other’s shoulders as silence engulfed the field.

“We played together as a team with heart for Maddie,” Erkan said. “We just wanted to all be together. It’s been a tough week for everyone, especially the community, team and the coaches.

“Tonight was just a night for us to come back and play hard for her.”

Godbout said the team is making progress.

“That Sunday, it was very difficult. I brought the girls onto the field after I gave them the news. A lot of them were hesitant to go on the field. The boys team supported them and it was awesome,” Godbout said. “The boys team and the girls team stood at the 30-yard line with their arms around each other. Once they made that kind of step it’s been easier.”

Godbout said the staff at the school “has been amazing.”

“The teachers made a plan where they would kind of adopt a soccer player,” Godbout said. “When the girls arrived they each had a gift from a different teacher.

“That definitely lifted their spirits. They were excited to play, eager to play. We haven’t really practiced since last Friday (Sept. 22). Today was important for the girls and it went very well.”

Chariho is now 7-1, 5-1 in Division II. Moses Brown dropped to 5-2-1 overall and in the league.

“Maddie would have been proud of the way we played,” Godbout said. “We played with heart and we played together. It was a beautiful night and a beautiful game. I couldn’t have asked for more from the girls.”

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