Sports Person of the Week
Novarro Stepping Up in Net as a Senior
Senior Natalie Novarro is having a solid campaign in her first season as the starting goalkeeper for the Morgan girls’ soccer squad. (Photo courtesy of Natalie Novarro )
Senior Natalie Novarro is willing to go any length to help the Morgan girls’ soccer team earn a victory as the Huskies’ goalie.
Two years ago, Natalie was faced with a situation that some players might have shied away from. When Morgan played North Branford in the Shoreline Conference semifinals, starting goalie Rebecca Cockley suffered an injury late in the game. Head Coach Steve Sullivan called upon Natalie, who was a defender at the time, to step into the net. Natalie didn’t flinch a bit.
“I consider myself fearless,” says Natalie. “I was willing to do it. In fact, I wanted to do it. I’m pretty much willing to do anything for this team, so we can do well.”
To say that Natalie was placed in a pressure-packed situation would be an understatement. Morgan and North Branford were locked in a 2-2 tie with the conference title on the line. The game went into overtime and ultimately came down to penalty kicks.
“I was going up against the best keeper in the Shoreline Conference in Allie Augur, who went on to play at Boston College,” Natalie says. “It was exciting.”
Natalie made three saves during the penalty kick session, while Morgan scored three goals against Augur, sending the Huskies to the championship game. Morgan went on to post a 1-0 victory versus Cromwell in the final to win Shoreline Conference title.
“That’s her character,” Head Coach Steve Sullivan says of Natalie’s performance. “That’s just the type of kid she is.”
When Cockley returned for her senior season last fall, Natalie went back to being a defender. After Cockley graduated, Natalie approached Coach Sullivan and said that she was interested in playing goalie as a senior this year.
“I told him I’d go back in goal if he wanted me to play there,” says Natalie.
Sullivan gave Natalie the nod, and the senior has been starting in goal for the Huskies during the 2019 season. Through 13 games, Morgan is sporting a record of 6-4-3, has qualified for the Class M State Tournament, and is in contention to make the Shoreline Conference Tournament.
Natalie has recorded six shutouts and given up just 15 goals on the year. She says that her success in net stems from a combination of a positive mindset and pinpoint timing.
“You’re not going to win every game, and you’re not going to stop every shot. So, it’s always about staying positive,” Natalie says. “You can add timing to that. It does become a fast-paced game at times. You’ve got to be ready and know when to dive for a ball. It doesn’t matter as long as you can get your body in the way.”
Natalie makes sure that she’s always in great shape for the soccer season. Natalie has been participating in CrossFit training since she was in the 8th grade.
“A family friend owns a training center in town called the CrossFit Battleground. They set up a training regimen for the entire girls’ soccer team,” says Natalie. “I’m there almost all the time during the offseason. It’s helped to turn me into the athlete that I am.”
Natalie, an Advanced Placement student at Morgan, is looking to attend college in the south. She would like to go into a career in nursing, and has her eye on Clemson University and the University of South Carolina.
However, right now Natalie is focused on finishing her high school soccer career on a good note. Natalie has been following in her family’s footsteps by playing sports at Morgan. Her father Artie played football for the Huskies, and her mother Jane was a cheerleader.
“I guess I got some of that athletic ability from my parents,” Natalie says. “The rest I picked up on my own.”