NEW BRITAIN - The Innovation, formerly known as Med-Ed Prep, girls soccer program has only had a varsity team for three years, but it already has its first all-state player in junior Victoria Piechota.
Piechota was recently named to the team and is not only the school’s first soccer player to be named to an all-state team, but also the first student athlete from the school in any sport to make all-state.
The junior was told by her coach that she received the honor and at first she wasn’t even sure what that really meant. After she realized though, she was surprised and happy to have earned such a distinction.
“I feel that it’s a big accomplishment,” said Piechota who had 21 goals and seven assists for the Ravens this season. “I’m really proud of my work and my team’s work. I feel like without my team I wouldn’t be as far as I made it and it’s just huge. I didn’t think I would be able to make all-states.”
Piechota is no stranger to the individual accolades as she has played with the varsity team since she was a freshman and has been named to the CRAL all-conference team in both of her previous seasons. But even with those past accomplishments, Piechota was unsure if she really had a shot for the all-state team this year.
“I had it in the back of my mind, but I didn’t think I would make it,” Piechota. “Being the first person from my school is truly amazing.”
While Piechota only thought she had an outside chance of making the team her head coach, Kathryn Scalia, came into the season believing her star player had a very realistic shot. Scalia kept that quiet though because she didn’t want the idea of that potential honor to weigh Piechota down.
“You want to give your player’s confidence but you also want to keep them humble,” Scalia said. “She knew that she was on the right path to having another great season and I did mention to her that her stats were among the best in the league and that she had a shot at it.”
Scalia knew that Piechota had an outstanding season, but the only thing the coach believed might hold her back from being named to the team was the size of the school. Because Innovation is so small, Scalia didn’t know if Piechota would get the proper recognition.
“Because we are a small school it’s hard to know if people will recognize your players or if they will hear about them,” Scalia said. “Winning top player of the CRAL which made her eligible for all-state and it has kind of put us on the map a little bit. It’s exciting for me as a coach to say that someone from my team made all-state.
“I’m very proud of Victoria. She has worked hard for three seasons. She has been a varsity player since she was a freshman, she has been all-conference since she was a freshman and this is well deserved for her. I’m very excited for her.”
The scary thing for the rest of the CRAL is that Piechota will be back playing for Innovation again next season. The question now is what is left for her to accomplish? After making the all-conference team three straight years and now all-state there isn’t much left for Piechota to accomplish individually.
“I want to make the all-conference team and maybe all-states again next season,” Piechota said. “More importantly team-wise I want us to have a better record and to win the CRAL championship.”
Scalia is not worried about Piechota not being motivated as a senior. The fact that she has accomplished basically everything won’t have much of an effect, according to Scalia, because that’s just not the way she is. The head coach though, is extremely excited to have her coming back for next season.
“It’s great to have her coming back,” Scalia said. “She’s a good player overall. She is unselfish. She devotes herself to this team and she has a great core group around her, they all work well together. Without them she might not have had the stats she had this year and she knows that so I’m excited to have my junior class back and becoming seniors.
“Victoria is extremely determined. I don’t think her goals are as much for herself as much as they are for the team. So motivation for her is that we are in the running for something. At the beginning of the season she looks at the schedule and says we have a shot at this, this year and that keeps the team motivated throughout the season. I also think that seeing that she got something this year as a junior will motivate her for next so that she can get all-state again.”
While Piechota still has another year of high school soccer left she also has her sights set on potentially playing at the next level in college. The junior was unsure what kind of opportunities she might have as far as college soccer, but her coach certainly thinks she has what it takes and is willing to do whatever she can to help her get there.
“She definitely has the potential to play at the next level,” Scalia said. “My job as a coach is to get the kids to play at that next level if that’s what they want to do so I’m going to network as much as I can and I will do as much research as I have to.”
Michael Woolfson can be reached at (860) 801-5203 or firstname.lastname@example.org