Giovino Puts Fear into Dual County Goalkeepers
WESTFORD -- There is no scarier sight for goalkeepers in the Dual County League than that of Ally Giovino making a run at the net.
Westford Academy’s junior striker surges around the pitch like a bolt of energy, relying on her artistic license to create offense on the go. Giovino is an intuitive scorer who produces goals in bunches.
“She’s always a threat,” said first-year Westford head coach Katie Andjus. “Teams are always double-teaming her and man-marking her. But she finds ways to create. She’s a dynamic scorer. She’s always looking for any opportunity to score.
“She’s very fast and that helps. She just has this knack for getting the ball into the back of the net. She wants to score. I think that’s half the battle. That desire to score every time she touches the ball is something you just can’t teach.”
Giovino has 16 goals and four assists this season. She has scored 43 goals while notching 55 points during her three-year varsity career.
Her ability to fill the net caught the attention of college coaches. Giovino, who stands 5-foot-5, has verbally committed to attend Division 1 Colgate University on a soccer scholarship.
“She’s explosive,” said Tracy Capone, who was Westford’s head coach Giovino’s freshman and sophomore seasons and is now a varsity assistant. “Definitely, her speed sets her apart. She’s very hard to mark. She can turn on a dime. She always keeps the ball in front of her. Sometimes the ball gets lost when you are trying to run fast and dribble. She keeps it in front of her and always knows where that ball is.
“She has a great attitude to go with her skills. She never gives up. She’s one of those positive kids that keeps going and going. Even if it’s a bad game and the team is struggling, she’s still out there giving 110 -percent trying to get that goal.”
Giovino has had many memorable moments in a Grey Ghost uniform.
But the offensive outburst she will long be remembered for is her six-goal game in a 7-0 victory over DCL rival Acton-Boxboro earlier this month. Years from now, when Giovino recounts the tale of the remarkable day she netted a double hat trick in a game to her grandkids, none of the details will have to be embellished.
“When I was very young I think I scored five goals in an in-town game,” said Giovino. “But I’ve never had a game like that at this level. It was such an unbelievable feeling to score six goals in a game.
“I was hot that game. I connected really well with the midfielders. I think every shot I took went in. It didn’t feel real at first. The feeling after the game was so awesome I can’t even describe it.”
It’s hard to put the game of a lifetime into words.
“In (the DCL) goals are tough to come by,” said Andjus. “And then we were also playing A-B, a real good program. Whenever we play them it’s a one or two-goal game, typically. So for her to score six goals against them was pretty crazy.
″(The A-B) coach said to me after the game, ‘The plan was to man-mark her, double-team her and don’t let her get the ball. And she scored six goals against us.’ It was an amazing performance.”
Instinctively finding the right balance between the risk and reward of knowing when to make a run at the net has helped Giovino stay a step ahead of everyone on the field, including the players assigned to mark her.
“I try to think before I receive the ball,” said Giovino, who tallied 18 goals and six assists as a sophomore. “So I know I have a plan. But some of it is instincts. I’ve been a forward my whole life and scoring goals. It’s just what I do.”
Giovino is a point guard on Westford’s highly-successful girls basketball team. She also excels in the classroom, where Giovino is an honor roll student.
“I had her as a freshman health student,” said Westford athletic director Jeff Bunyon. “Now I’m her athletic director. But I can speak personally for her character. She recognizes what’s going on around her and isn’t just in her own world.
“She’s always willing to help and include all students. So I’m not surprised at what a great teammate she is, when you see that type of behavior in and out of the classroom. She’s a terrific representative of our athletic program.”
Giovino has received lots of support and guidance from her parents, Laurie and Anthony, and older brothers, Anthony and Nick.
After losing many key players to graduation from last year’s Division 1 state finalist squad, Giovino has helped Westford (8-4) secure a postseason berth.
“I love soccer,” said Giovino. “It’s my passion. Playing at WA has been great. The team is great. The coaching is great. I’m so glad we made the tournament coming off a team last year that was so good. Tourney time is going to be tough, but I think we’re going to surprise some teams.”
Like most gifted scorers, Giovino is a forward-thinker who never loses sight of long-range goals.
Follow Carmine Frongillo on Twitter @cwfrongi