Fall sports preview: Granby girls soccer chasing state title after 4 straight sectional crowns

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  • Seniors on the Granby soccer team, Tuesday at the school. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • The Granby soccer team, Tuesday at the school. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 9/6/2019 4:28:51 PM
Modified: 9/6/2019 4:28:39 PM

GRANBY — It’s been a long offseason for returning Granby girls soccer players.

On paper, the Rams put together another dominant campaign in 2018, outscoring playoff opponents 11-0 on their way to a fourth-straight sectional title. The run ended with a loss in the Division 3 state championship.

Competing for a state title is enough for some programs, but for the players on this year’s team, getting to the state championship and losing is not a moral victory.

“Our minds have been on (winning the state championship) since we walked off the field last year,” senior Nora Young said.

In each of the three years prior to last season’s state title game appearance, the Rams fell in the state semifinals. Players on the team weren’t sure if competing in a state championship game was an achievable goal.

After last season’s appearance, players on the team very much believe that they have what it takes to compete on a state-wide level.

“This time we are working for it. It starts now,” Young said. “Everyday at practice it’s on our minds. ... Everyone is very motivated toward that.”

“They are a very hungry group,” Granby coach Bob Weaver said. “They want to perform well on the biggest stages. I have girls that have been here since eighth grade. They have been here for the whole ride.”

Young has been competing on the Rams varsity team since the eighth grade. A starter in her first year, she played as an attack-minded outside midfielder. After a breakout campaign that saw her score five goals and chip in five assists, she was moved to the forward position. She has been a go-to scorer for the Rams ever since.

Fellow senior Julia Frappier also joined the varsity team in the eighth grade. She has made an impact from the midfield position as someone who can initiate an attack with a slicing ball down the wing or by winning possession in a crowd of opponents.

The duo have been contributors for the program since the beginning of the team’s run.

Programs change all the time; players graduate and new players enter the fold, but one thing that has stayed the same throughout the last four years for Granby is the players’ work ethic.

“Every group as they come up is willing to work so hard,” Young said. “Everybody is so ready to work for the next one. I think that’s something special about us. Everybody wants to just get out there and compete and work hard. It started when we were in eighth grade, and it has gone on through the years.”

A lot of players on this year’s team have been competing together for a long time. Young and Frappier have been playing together since they were 5 years old. Having chemistry on and off the field has proven to be an important indicator of how players will work together on the field.

Developing that chemistry is no easy task. It takes a self-motivated group of athletes and good player management to get a team to coalesce. Entering his fourth year at the helm, Weaver has done that with his unique coaching style.

“He makes things fun, but he stays after you,” Young said. “At practices we are doing things where we have fun but we are getting after it, too. He does the perfect mix of letting us play and figure it out, but also knows when something needs to happen.”

Young and Frappier played with a group of upperclassmen that welcomed younger players into the program with open arms. Now in their senior seasons, they hope to foster the same type of welcoming environment.

“As a team we are really close,” Frappier said. “When we first joined the team a lot of the older girls were really welcoming. ... There was a lot of energy that they gave off.”

A lot has changed in the last four years at Granby, but at the same time, a lot has stayed the same. The players are different, but the same desire to continuously get better has not wavered. A state championship is the next step.

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