Greens Farms Academy is a PreK-12, coed school in Westport, CT

Defense and Offense Shine Bright for GFA Girls Soccer

John Nash

A lot of fuss has been made of the Greens Farms Academy girls soccer offense this season and for some very good reasons. More than 50 of them, in fact.

Freshman Sofia Atehortua (a school-record 36 goals) and junior Lauren Lior (20 goals) give the Dragons a lethal attack up front, one that amassed nearly 100 goals this season.

On the far side of the field, though, is a defense that you can’t deny is pretty special.

“Defense wins championships. You’ve heard it said before,” Coach Andrew Henry said after his goalkeeper and back four blanked fifth-seeded Canterbury by a 3-0 score in Wednesday’s NEPSAC Class C quarterfinal. “This particular defense, they love defending. They love stopping the other team. They love putting that doughnut (zero for a shutout) on the board. That’s what they live for.”

The four-player backfield has primarily included senior captain Shealeigh Crombie and sophomore Charlotte Walter along with freshmen Janelle Mascis and Julia Johnson.

In other words, it’s very young but very talented.

“As a senior, it’s awesome to look and see this is the future of the team. It’s really bright,” Crombie said. “And it’s so awesome to see these freshmen, these young players, just coming in and killing it. They’re not scared and they’re ready to play.”

It is a group that runs deep, as well, as a senior Emma Smith and sophomore Shannon Martin come off the bench to supply strength and power to the defensive back line while Emma Orenstein’s speed can dominate the outside from the back to the front line.

GFA’s defense has pitched 11 shutouts this season as the Dragons have outscored their opponents by a 93-18 count this season.

That’s 18 goals in 22 games—good for a 0.82-goals-against average this season.

Four goalies have seen action in net for the Dragons this season, including senior co-captains Lane Murphy and Andie Morelli. With Morelli sidelined by injury, Murphy shining between the posts this offseason. 

In three postseason games, Murphy has made 28 saves over two and a half games of action. “She has that big-game capability and big-game leadership,” Henry said. “It’s her senior year and she just doesn’t want it to end.”

It’s a run Murphy, Crombie, Morelli and fellow senior Emma Smith are appreciating.

“It means a lot to me,” Murphy said of the fact GFA hasn’t made it to a NEPSAC semifinal since 2012. “It’s really special to have a team of underclassmen and younger players who care as much about this as we do. We’ve worked so hard on this for four years and it’s so great to see all the heart and energy we have.”

Murphy, Crombie, and the defense deserve to have the light shining down on them as they haven’t given up an on-field goal for more than 260 minutes of play, dating back to the second half of the Nov. 3 game regular-season game against Frederick Gunn.

“It’s amazing,” Murphy said. “They’re all really great individual players and they work extremely well together, too.”

It’s been a season to remember for the Dragons, who will take a 17-3-2 mark into Saturday’s game against top-seeded and unbeaten Brewster Academy. (Game time: 2 p.m. at Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Mass).

Brewster has scored 67 goals in 16 games this season while giving up just six goals.

No matter what happens, though, Henry and his seniors are proud of what the team has accomplished this season. “Everybody has stepped up this season,” Henry said. “I’m really proud of them for that.”