1998 Suffield High School Girls Soccer Team
​​ ​Inducted in 2006
​Top Row (L-R): Coach David Sullivan, Kristin Bridgman, Amy Claughsey, Angela Stafford, Britney Hinckley, Elizabeth Peake, Jane Christian, Lisa DePaolo, Tracy Naida, Jill Bizeau
Middle Row (L-R): Kelly Kannen, Kelly McEleney, Jamie Bielonko, Erin Horanzy, Tracie Zavisa, Bonny Davidson, Michaela Seccareccia, Nicole Augusto, Garyth Evans
Sitting (L-R): Heather Beaudoin, Kristal Crowe, Kara Goodman, Courtney Merrell, Andrea DeMaria, Lauren Naida 
The 1998 Girls Soccer Team was the first girls team ever to capture a State Championship at Suffield High School. It was not an easy task. Girls soccer was definitely a sport on the way up at SHS where, since 1995, the team had either won, tied, or were runners-up for the NCCC league title. With teams like E.O. Smith, Tolland, Avon, and Granby in the mix, the NCCC was one of the premier leagues in the State for girls soccer. But even before the 1998 campaign began, Suffield’s leading scorer, Lauren Naida, was out for the season with a knee injury. Add to this the fact that Suffield had a new coach, David Sullivan, and a very young team (7 sophomores starting) and the team’s once bright prospects were markedly dampened.

The team got off to a rousing start, however, as they won their first five games in convincing fashion. Next up was arch rival and undefeated E.O. Smith, a team they had consistently battled for league supremacy. Suffield beat them 4-0 to take over the NCCC league lead. They ran their streak to 9-0 before meeting up with always tough Tolland. Despite giving up only one goal and outshooting the Lady Eagles, Suffield lost its first game of the season. After two more wins, the team suffered its second defeat of the year in another 1-0 loss, this time to Granby. The Lady Wildcats finished the regular season on a three game winning streak and won the conference title outright. They entered the state tournament with a 14-2 record and the #3 seed. With a first round bye, they met Tourtellotte in the second round and were forced to go to penalty kicks before prevailing in overtime. Wins over Rocky Hill and Avon set up their finals match up with unbeaten Lewis Mills. In a back-and-forth, closely contested game, Suffield outscored Mills by a 3-2 count to win the State Class S Crown.

Throughout the season, Suffield was led in scoring by Jill Bizeau and Tracy Nadia with key contributions from Erin Horanzy. The defense, starting with midfield, was substantially anchored by several more of the “sophomore seven” that earned starting positions at the beginning of the year. Krystal Crowe, Kelly McEleny, Michaela Seccareccia, and Tracie Zavisa matured and prospered during the 1998 season and were instrumental in shutting down the offenses of NCCC opponents. Their effectiveness can be seen in the fact that only 4 goals were scored against Suffield in the last 13 games of the regular season. The last line of defense in front of the goalkeeper was sweeper Kristin Bridgman. It was her job to erase any defensive breakdowns that may have occurred before the opposition could get to Kelly Kannen. As a sophomore starter in goal, Kelly Kannen had several sensational games. Notably, it was her key saves in the tournament semi-finals against Avon that kept Suffield’s championship dreams alive. Senior leadership in the person of tri-captains Andrea DeMaria, Courtney Merrell, and Lauren Nadia along with Lisa DePaolo and Libby Peake unquestionably played a prominent role in countering the several pitfalls that inevitably faced the inexperienced Lady Wildcats.

In finishing with a gaudy 18-2 mark, Suffield outscored its opponents by a 68 to 11 margin and racked up 9 shutout victories along the way. Coach Sullivan and the entire Town of Suffield couldn’t have been prouder of this young team that stared adversity in the face and would not be denied.