Vanessa Benjamin

Vanessa Benjamin

Head coach: Jennifer Solomon (second season). Assistant coaches: Emilie Cravinho (volunteer), Jeffrey Moore.

Last year: Stonington put together a 15-5-1 mark, winning the ECC Division II tournament. The Bears reached the second round of the Class M tournament.

Returning to varsity:

Seniors: Emma Anderson (D), Sydney Motherway (M-D). Juniors: Vanessa Benjamin (F), Amelia Caron (B), Maggie Constantine (B), Megan Detwiler (F), Maysa Gray (F), Tori LoPresto (G), Rachel Sabbadini (M). Sophomore: Corrine Steeno (B).

New to varsity:

Senior: Katie McNeil (B). Juniors: Bailey McCarney (M), Gabby Ross (M). Sophomores: Katherine Glenn (D), Ivy Goodman (D). Freshmen: Kelsea Anderson (G), Carly Constantine (F), Helena Hoinsky (M), Anneliese McGee (M), Carleigh O’Keefe (M).

Outlook: Stonington returns much of a lineup that rolled up 15 wins last season.

The Bears will be moving up a level in the ECC to Division II, where the competition will be much tougher, but they appear to be more than ready for that challenge.

Stonington returns three All-ECC Division III players in Benjamin, Caron and Detwiler. Benjamin led the team in goals (19) and assists (eight) last season. Detwiler was next (15 and seven). Caron was a top-notch defender.

Benjamin, who played academy soccer before joining the team last season, will be even better this time around, Solomon said.

“She knows what to expect and she will have a better understanding of the style of the other high school teams,” the coach said.

Anderson returns after missing last year with a knee injury. She will join Caron and Constantine in the back or play in the midfield. Steeno also returns in the back, giving the Bears a solid corps in front of returning keeper LoPresto. Sabbadini will also be back in the midfield.

Solomon expects the Bears to play possession soccer.

“I think we have some very good 1 v. 1 players and we bring a lot of different things. They have a good soccer IQ. It’s a really strong, cohesive group,” Solomon said.

Coach’s take: “We want to contend for the ECC title. I definitely think we have to ability to do that. And we want to advance to the third round of the state tournament and take it from there.”

— Keith Kimberlin

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