Girls Soccer Hopes To Avoid Injury Bug

Girls Soccer Hopes To Avoid Injury Bug
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Darien girls soccer coach Jonathan Bradley may be humming “With A Little Bit O’ Luck” (My Fair Lady) when the season starts on Wednesday. And who could blame him?

Despite losing three key players to injuries last season, the Blue Wave still managed to finish with a winning record (8-6-1). But with a little more luck avoiding injuries, that record easily could have been much better.

The Blue Wave lost Cat Thomas in the preseason, Alex Budd in the second game, and Kelly Mahoney midway through the year with a torn ACL. While the Wave starters were solid, Darien was thin on the bench.

But that’s not the case this season, as the 2010 team is trading experience for depth.

“We’re a young group, but we’re very deep,” Bradley said. “This will be on-job-training during the early part of the season, but the girls have been working hard and looking good.”

The Wave opened the preseason with a 4-2 win over Laurelton Hall, a team that was undefeated last year and has looked strong in all their scrimmages.

Players who were saddled with injuries earlier in the preseason will be ready for Wednesday’s opener at Westhill (4:30 p.m.). Only Vanessa Budd is expected to miss significant time, as she’ll be out for a month with an ankle injury.

“This years’ team has a lot of speed and we expect to put a lot of pressure on our opponents,” Bradley said.

“Our young talent can step right in,” co-captain Charlotte Phillipps added.

Those expected to step in right away include a number of freshmen in Phoebe Taylor, Ellie Bennett, Emily Stein, Dillon Schoen and Julia Black.

“This team will be all about chemistry and I think we have it,” co-captain Ellie Bullitt said. “The key words to describe this year’s team are speed and depth.

“While we’re deep, so is the conference (FCIAC). New Canaan, Westhill, Greenwich, St. Joe’s and Ridgefield should all be competitive this season,” Bullitt added.

According to Bradley, Darien’s 15-game regular-season schedule becomes more competitive during the middle of the year.

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