The Loomis Chaffee girls soccer program was well represented at the 23rd Annual All-State and 10th Annual Hall of Fame Banquet, hosted by the Connecticut Girls’ Soccer Coaches Association, on Sunday, January 13. Hall of Fame inductees for 2012 included former Loomis Chaffee girls varsity soccer coach Bob Lathrop and former Pelican player Bianca D’Agostino ’07. Five members of the 2012 LC girls soccer team also were honored at the event for outstanding play this fall.
Current LC varsity girls soccer coach Carey Dorn O’Brien, a 2006 Hall of Fame inductee, introduced Bianca with the following sentiments:
“Bianca D’Agostino played youth soccer for Oakwood Soccer Club. She led her club team to several state championships and a national indoor championship. She was selected to the U.S. Region 1 Team each year in her age group. Bianca was also selected to the U.S. National Teams at every age level and is currently a four-year member of the U.S. U-23 Women’s National Team, where she has competed in many prestigious tournaments.
“Bianca graduated from Loomis Chaffee in 2007. During her four-year career at LC, Bianca scored 76 goals with 44 assists in 65 games, leaving as the all-time goals and points scorer in Loomis history. Her team had two consecutive undefeated seasons, including a 54-game winning streak and three New England Championships. In her playing career at LC, Bianca was a four-time All-State player, three-time All-New England selection, two-time All-American, Parade All-American, Connecticut Player of the Year, and Gatorade Player of the Year.
“Upon graduation, Bianca attended Penn State University as a national top-10 recruit, where she played her freshman year and contributed to her team's winning the Big Ten Championship. She then transferred to Wake Forest University and played three years. As team captain her senior year, Bianca was instrumental in bringing her team to win the ACC Championship. Bianca graduated from Wake Forest on the Dean’s List and was All-ACC Academic. Bianca was the 18th pick in the 2011 Women’s Professional Soccer draft, playing her rookie season for the Atlanta Beat. For her second professional season, she signed with the Boston Breakers, where she currently plays. Bianca has been involved with various charities, such as Project Pink for breast cancer awareness and Futbol for Change, which raised awareness and money for education and medicine in Africa through soccer.”
Bob Lathrop also was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday. He is only the second prep school coach to be inducted into the CT Soccer Hall of Fame.
Bob and his wife, Paula, were surrounded by Loomis Chaffee alumnae Stephanie Bartus Lesnik ’93, Kate Moriarty ‘05, and Emily Harris ’09 along with LC's Director of Athletics Bob Howe ’80, Head Athletic Trainer Don MacGillivray, trainer and Fitness and Wellness teacher Jean Sapula, assistant varsity girls soccer coach and science teacher Julie Hinchman, and Sports Information Director and head field hockey coach Bobbi Moran.
Don Desautels, Bob Lathrop's friend and former Connecticut Girls' Soccer Coaches Association executive board colleague, introduced him. Don was effusive in his praise of Bob as a coach and mentor of young women. Don introduced Bob with the following remarks:
“Coach Lathrop is indeed a special coach. He masterminded a decade of superiority for the Loomis Chaffee girls varsity soccer program. He created and amazingly sustained what his coaching peers called the 'model prep school program, one that sets the bar you want to reach for, one that you want to measure yourself against.' Anyone from 1997 to 2006 would attest that the Pelicans set the bar incredibly high.
“What player or coach here wouldn’t want to be a part of 183 matches and only lose nine? How about winning 8 out of 10 league championships? Or best yet, advancing to the semifinals of the New England Class A Tournament each year and winning the championship five times?
“The final two seasons of his tenure were proved to be a fitting transition to a remarkable career. Loomis Chaffee did not lose or tie a match, going 20-0 in 2005 and 19-0 in 2006 and winning back-to-back Class A Championship trophies.
"His athletic director, Bob Howe, was in awe of Bob’s coaching vision. The way his program successfully balanced the difficult worlds of academics, athletics, and extracurricular interests. How he masterfully managed everyone, especially having some very high level, national-caliber players. In an interview in 2006 with Mark Pukalo of The Hartford Courant, Bianca D’Agostino was asked what she would tell someone who is considering attending Loomis Chaffee and playing for Coach Lathrop, and she replied, 'Get ready to work hard, but it will pay off in the long run.'
"Bob can easily say, 'I’ve been fortunate to have a great bunch of players.' That’s true; he had three or four all-staters every year he coached. Everyone here associated with the game understands the need for that special coach who can manage the day-to-day 'drama' running a program with young women. He could say you need luck. The luck the girls soccer players from Loomis had was having Coach Bob Lathrop!”
In his own remarks Coach Lathrop shared his gratitude for the support of the LC Athletics Department under the supervision of Bob Southall and Bob Howe and Office of Admission, led during his tenure by Tom Southworth. Bob noted his appreciation for the support of his family, especially his wife Paula, and his assistant coach of many years, Julie Hinchman, along with his talented former players. Bob’s speech included the following remarks:
“Over the years, I have tried to instill in my players some of my own beliefs in keeping with the Loomis motto of being 'our very best selves.' I seldom talked to my players about winning. I preferred to stress the importance of doing the little things correctly, both in soccer and in life, because by doing so, they would have the opportunity to be winners on and off the soccer field.
“My success as a coach can be traced directly to the support provided by Loomis Chaffee’s Admissions and Athletics departments. With the help of Tom Southworth, Bob Southall, and Bob Howe, we built a successful soccer program where we were able to create an environment for our players to grow as athletes, and most importantly as students. It was truly a great privilege to coach such outstanding athletes and gifted students who strived for excellence in all aspects of their lives.
“ … Finally, I would like to thank my assistant coach, Julie Hinchman, whose advice and wisdom in working with teenage girls was indispensable. To my players, who always had a 'can do' attitude no matter what adversity they faced; to my family: Chris, Allison, and my wife, Paula: a very special thank you, for supporting me while I lived the dream.”
The event continued with five Loomis Chaffee girls soccer players receiving honors for their play this fall. Senior Faith McCarthy; juniors Abby Pyne, Melanie Vangel, and Danielle Snajder; and freshman Abby Sotomayor were recognized as 2012 All-State Team inductees. Abby also was recognized as one of four 2012 Region I All-Americans. Faith was recognized as a 2012 All-New England Region I Player, and Danielle received recognition as a 2012 XARA/CGSCA Coach’s Award Winner.
With the representation of LC athletes at the event on Sunday, it is clear that the legacy that Coach Lathrop created over his career on the Island has continued, and Coach O’Brien has extended the excellence of the school’s program.