WALLINGFORD — Rilee Reutenauer is an aggressive and vocal leader between the pipes for the Sheehan field hockey team.
She’s been the goalie for each of her four seasons with the Titans and last week she made school history. In the season opener on Sept. 13, a 5-1 defeat at home against Lauralton Hall, Reutenauer made 23 saves.
The performance made her the all-time save leader in Titans history with 441, surpassing Carly Femniak’s previous program record of 432 set between 2012-15.
Reutenauer followed that up with three more saves in a 1-0 shutout of Southington on Saturday. It was her first shutout of the season after blanking five teams last year.
“She wasn’t signed up to play field hockey in her freshman year — that crazy COVID year,” Sheehan coach Katie Gill recalled. “I reached out to her because she hadn’t signed up for a fall sport. She tried it for a few weeks and she loved it, and here we are.”
Sheehan didn’t have a goalie her freshman year and Reutenauer was ready to take the spot.
“She was a natural at it and it was a no-brainer for us,” Gill said. “She has also had some great defense in front of her.
“Rilee has had some great games.,” Gill continued. “She had more than 30 saves against Guilford. You can only imagine the amount of goals they would have scored if she wasn’t making those stops. That kid is everywhere when she’s out there.”
Reutenauer’s career high 31 saves were in a 2-1 loss to Guilford last season.
Gill said Reutenauer’s strength is her determination and drive.
“It means a lot to get the record,” Reutenauer said. “The past three years I’ve been working really hard and the school record has been my goal since last year. I’m really proud and excited.”
Reutenauer said her attentiveness in net is her biggest strength.
“It’s become better this year, even if I’m on the ground or on the opposite side of the cage,” Reutenauer said. “I’m also good at communication and telling my defenders who is open and where to move.
“I’m also aggressive. If I’m in a one-on-one situation, I try to get out and try to get the ball out of there before the shot.”
Reutenauer also does outdoor track, where she competes in high jump and long jump.
Reutenauer said she also steps up her game against difficult competition.
“We are in the SCC and one of the hardest conferences in the state with teams like Branford, Cheshire and Guilford, and that can be a little intimidating,” Reutenauer said. “I love those games the most because there is constant pressure. That’s when I play my best. I like to play up to that level and going up against teams like that.”
Reutenauer is a senior on the team along with Olivia Fritz, Casey Ekstrom, Mia Levesh, Brooke Patrissi, Reilly Hunter, Finnian Dubuc and Erin Villano.
“In the past three years we have been moving up as a team,” Reutenauer said. “The senior class has been working and we’ve moved our way up. It’s going to be an exciting season. We have been thinking about this year since we got here.”
The team won a qualifying round game in the state tournament last year and is looking to build on it this fall.
Sheehan has faced some adversity this season lacking a home field. (The turf and track project at Riccitelli Field isn’t expected to be finished until mid-October at the earliest.) Practices have been held at Sheehan’s grass field as well as at Choate, which will be the program’s home field for games until Riccitelli is ready.
Sheehan entered the week at 1-1, with a home game against North Haven at Choate on Wednesday. The Titans travel to crosstown rival Lyman Hall on Thursday night for a 6:30 start.
“It’s always great playing Lyman Hall,” Reutenauer said. “It’s always the most exciting game and we get the biggest crowds and we are the most fired up during those games.”
Gill, a teacher at Lyman Hall, said she looks forward to the rivalry games each fall.
“I get to know all of the girls in both schools and it’s a special night,” Gill said. “It’s going to be a great game with a lot of energy.”