Girls soccer preview: Franklin Tech looks to continue ascent in 2023

Greenfield’s Carly Blanchard (7), left, and Franklin Tech’s Anne Kolodziej (5) battle for the ball in Greenfield last season.

Greenfield’s Carly Blanchard (7), left, and Franklin Tech’s Anne Kolodziej (5) battle for the ball in Greenfield last season. STAFF FILE PHOTO/Paul Franz

By THOMAS JOHNSTON

Staff Writer

Published: 09-05-2023 4:23 PM

The Franklin Tech girls soccer team finished with three wins in 2019 and in its return from COVID-19 in 2021, won just four games.

The Eagles made a jump last year, and head coach Jason Butynski is hoping to take another step forward this fall.

Butynski inherited a team in 2021 that was comprised almost entirely of freshmen and sophomores. Those freshmen and sophomores are now juniors and seniors and are looking to return to the MIAA Division 5 state tournament, a place it qualified for in 2022 after winning the final three games of the season to finish with a .500 record.

“I’ve got a hard working group,” Butynski said. “They’re all hard working. My core players have worked hard since they were freshmen and sophomores for me. We were playing those freshmen and sophomores two years ago and now they’re juniors and seniors. They’re older and more experienced. They’re still learning but I expect us to go out there and be competitive in every game.” 

Butynski and the Eagles will be competing in a new-look Bi-County League this fall. 

Smith Academy and Pope Francis dominated the league a season ago, the Cardinals finishing their season with a 14-2-1 record while the Falcons went 12-4-4. Both played a number of uncompetitive games along the way. 

Both of those teams, as well as St. Mary’s and Duggan, moved to different divisions, leaving Franklin Tech, Greenfield, Athol and Pathfinder as the lone returning teams in the league. Those four will be joined by Pioneer, Renaissance and Gateway, creating a league that should be competitive top to bottom. 

“We have a schedule where we’re still playing some decent games,” Butynski said. “Our league should be competitive. I think it’s wide open. I’m excited to see where we fit in. We want to be competitive every time out. We lost some of the games we struggled in but those teams have moved out of our league and moved up. I appreciated playing them because it made us better.”

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Anne Kolodziej, who scored 27 goals a season ago, will lead the attack for the Eagles along with Kyra Goodell, who scored seven goals in her first year playing soccer. Twin sister, Ella Kolodziej, will be the table setter in the midfield along with Mia Marigliano, Laken Woodard and Ripley Dresser.

Sofia Moreno, Samantha Duncan, Mady Lynde, Trinity Doane and Ariel Peters will hold down the defense, with Kylee Gamache once again in goal. Kailey James and Elise Wolfe will play a variety of roles. 

“I’m encouraged,” Butynski said. “The girls are taking it seriously. It’s still a difficult thing at the Tech school with kids coming from different places. We don’t play in the offseason. We’re progressing in the right direction and I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen so far.”

Athol

COACH: Tim Cleveland

LEAGUE/DIVISION: Bi-County/5

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 7-10-1

ROSTER: Aliyah Choquette, Alauna Choquette, Avalynn Adams, Hailey Cummings, Hannah Cardoso, Skyla Williams, Maddisyn David, Lyla-Rae Williams, Gracie Lichtenberger, Marrissa Walker, Aubrielle Brockney, Emily King, Olivia Horrigan, Allison Robertson, Kylah Blundon, Abigail Willhite, Emily Gallant, Elizabeth Mailloux, Samantha Mailloux, Brooklyn Hopkins.

OUTLOOK: The Bears have been a young team for a number of years, with those young players now juniors and seniors hoping to lead Athol to the state tournament. Seniors Elizabeth Mailloux and Samantha Mailloux and juniors Emily King and Kyla Blundon are players to watch this season.

FC Tech

COACH: Jason Butynski, third year

LEAGUE/DIVISION: Bi-County/5

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 9-10, lost in Div. 5 prelims

ROSTER: Anne Kolodziej, Ella Kolodziej, Kyra Goodell, Mia Marigliano, Ripley Dresser, Laken Woodard, Sofia Moreno, Samantha Duncan, Mady Lynde, Kailey James, Kylee Gamache, Elise Wolfe, Trinity Doane, Ariel Peters.

Frontier

COACH: Andy Rup, first year

LEAGUE/DIVISION: Pioneer North/4

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 10-6-3, lost in Div. 5 Round of 32

ROSTER: Maddie Bennett, Molly Gates, Mae Hoff, Maggie McDermott-White, Jillian Worden, Josie Fosnot, Claire McFarland, Jocelyn Antes, Maddie Fagan, Teagan Hale, Ashley Rivard, Keira Korenewsky, Addie Morrey, Addie Ehle, Skylar Steele, Jazzy Hayes, Alli Paciorek, Payton Rup, Carly Robertson, Kayla Fagan

OUTLOOK: The Redhawks have been a staple in the postseason, with Rup taking over a veteran group led by five seniors — Bennett, Gates, Hoff, McDermott-White and Worden — and two juniors — Fosnot and McFarland. Worden has impressed in the midfield while Fagan, a sophomore, and Hayes, a freshman, will play major roles in the Frontier midfield.

Greenfield

COACH: Ben Johnson, second year

LEAGUE/DIVISION: Bi-County/5

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 7-10-1

ROSTER: Carly Blanchard, Mia Snedeker, Anna Bucala, Holly Babineau, Elderina Cecunjanin, Suhani Patel, Jenny Petcu, Tayler Bergeron, Ever Kennedy, Annie Cobileanschi, Natalia Cody, Sarah McCloud, Inga Petcu, Zee Torres, Stella Call

OUTLOOK: Cecunjanin, who scored 19 goals and eight assists as a freshman last year, will lead the Green Wave attack. Snedeker transferred over from Stoneleigh-Burnham and brings skill to the midfield. Johnson said Babineau, a sophomore, and Bergeron, a freshman, have both made a big leap forward. McCloud, an eighth grader, will factor into the attack while Blanchard will move from the defense into net.

Mahar

COACH: Chad Softic

LEAGUE/DIVISION: Pioneer North/5

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 5-12

ROSTER: Alivia Patch, Arabella Malo, Audrey Danielson, Autumn Cleveland, Megan Parse, Dakota Cleveland, Logan Burke, Stella Moore, Thea Whitmore, Nevaeh Scribner, Avery Savage, Reece Hains, Lindsey Woodbury, Mackenzie Matthews, Carly Walsh, Lexi Murcell, Audrey Elwood, Lexi Ares, Jenna Nolette

OUTLOOK: The Sens moved from the Grieve League — one of the top leagues in Western Mass. — to the Pioneer North, where they’ll compete against Easthampton, St. Mary’s, Frontier, Holyoke and Ware. Patch, a senior, will again be in goal while Malo, Danielson, Cleveland and Parse will hold down the defense in front of her. Cleveland, Burke, Moore and Whitmore will start in the midfield while Scribner and Savage will be the scoring threats up top.

Pioneer

COACH: Matt Killeen, first year

LEAGUE/DIVISION: Bi-County/5

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 8-8-1, lost in Div. 5 prelims

ROSTER: Zeevah Andrews, Jaelyn Boliski, Avery Chapin, Hayden Brechenser, Ninah Favreau, Mya Laprade, Lily Laprade, Jakayla Rivard, Kyra Goodwin, Maddie Keefe, Leah Potter, Natalie Rios, Dani Teaca, Kyler McClelland, Sahana Heilman, Natalie Johnson, Fota N’Diaye, Hailey Ring

OUTLOOK: Ring and N’Diaye are the lone seniors on a young Panther roster. Ring will use her speed to lead the attack while N’Diaye will lead the charge on defense. Heilman will factor into the attack, Teaca is a player to watch in the midfield while Potter and Rios, both freshman, and Keefe, an eight grader, are promising young players.